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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 

Completed Local History Topics for Fishers 
RVC English Composition Classes 

Abrasive Machining 

Aldeen Golf Course 

Alpine Park 

Amcore Bank 

Amerock Corp. 

Anderson Gardens 

Anna Page Park 

Argyle, IL 

Atwood Park 

Bauman Park - Cherry Valley 

Beattie Park 


Belford/Showplace Theaters 

Belvidere Community Building 

Beyer Stadium 

Black Hawk Park 

Black Hawk Statue - Oregon 

Blood point Cemetery 

Booker T. Washington Center 

Boone County Fair 

Broadway Covenant Church 

Brooke Road Methodist Church 

Byron Dragway 

Byron Nuclear Plant 

Byron Old Soldier's Monument 

Byron's Old Fire Station 

Camp Grant 

Camp Louden (BSA) - Oregon 

Capital Theater 

Children's Home of Rockford - Rural 

City Hall - (Old, Rockford) 

Clock Tower Resort 

Coronado Theater 

Danfoss Corp. 

Davis Park 

Dekalb County Courthouse 

Ditullio's Italian Import Foods 

Edward's Apple Orchard 

Erlander Home 

Essex Corporation 

Faust Landmark Hotel 

Field of Honor - Loves Park 

Fiorello's Pumpkin Patch 

First Assembly of God Church 

First Congregational Church 

Flinn Middle School 

Girl Scout Office - Auburn St. 

Glen Haven Mill - Byron 

Goldie's Tattoo on Broadway 

Goodwill Industries - Kishwaukee 

Great Rockford Airport 

Guilford High School 

Gunite Corporation 

Harlem Amusement Park 

Head Start Rockford 

High Maintenance Solon 

Highview Retirement Center 

Ida Public Library 

Illinois Central Railroad Depot 

Illinois Railway Museum - Union, IL 

Illinois State Police Post-Pecatonica 

Jefferson High School 

Jefferson Street Bridge 

Jewish Community Center 

JMK Nippon Restaurant 

John Devereueawax Playground 

John Deere Hist. Site - Gnd Detour 

Kegal's Bike Shop 

Ken-Rock Community Center 

Kirkland, IL 

Klehm Arboretum 

Krape Park - Freeport 

Lafayette Hotel 

Lake-Peterson Home 

Let's Talk It Out Building 

Levings Lake Park 

Lincoln Middle School 

Lockwood Park 

Logli Supermarkets 

Lucius Reed Home - Byron 

Machesney Airport 

Magic Waters 

Marinelli Stadium 

Mendelssohn Club 

Memorial Hall 

Metro Centre 

Midway Theater 

Midway Village & Museum Ctr. 

Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips 

New American Theater 

North Suburban Library 

Old Post Office - Rockford 

On the Waterfront Festival 

PA Peterson Elementary School 

Ponds Funeral Home 

Poor Claire Nuns Monastery 

Poplar Grove Airport 

Rev'd Up Recreation Ctr. 

Riverfront Art Museum 

Riverside Bridge 

Robin Drive-in Theater 

Rock Cut Elementary School 

Rockford Bike Pathway 

Rockford Memorial Hospital 

Rockford Public Library 

Rockford Rescue Mission 

Rockford Seminary 

Rockford Speedway 

Rockford YMCA 

Rockton Old Stone School 

Roscoe Sportsman's Club 

Rotation Station Rec. Ctr. 

RVC Administration Farm House 

St. Anthony Hospital 

St. Edward's Church 

St. Elizabeth Community Ctr. 

St. James Church (Rockford) 

St. Paul Church of God in Christ 

Schmeling Lumber 

Searls Park 

Second Christian Church 

Serenity House 

Seton Center 

Sinnissippi Gardens 

Slavic Gospel Association 

State Street Bridge 

Stewart's Department Store 

Stronghold Castle 

Sundstrand Corporation 

Swedish American Hospital 

Time Museum 

Times Theater 

Tinker Swiss Cottage 

Toad Hall 

UIC School of Medicine 

Wagon Wheel Lodge - Roscoe 

West Middle School 

Wheeler Home - S. Beloit 

Whitehead Elementary School 

Winnebago County Courthouse 

Completed Local History Topics for Fisher's 
RVC English Composition Classes 

Abrasive Machining 

Aldeen Golf Course 

Alpine Park 

Amcore Bank 

Amerock Corp. 

Anderson Gardens 

Anna Page Park 

Argyle, IL 

Atwood Park 

Bauman Park - Cherry Valley 

Beattie Park 


Belford/Showplace Theaters 

Belvidere Community Building 

Beyer Stadium 

Black Hawk Park 

Black Hawk Statue - Oregon 

Bloodpoint Cemetery 

Booker T. Washington Center 

Boone County Fair 

Broadway Covenant Church 

Brooke Road Methodist Church 

Byron Dragway 

Byron Nuclear Plant 

Byron Old Soldier's Monument 

Byron's Old Fire Station 

Camp Grant 

Camp Louden (BSA) - Oregon 

Capital Theater 

Children's Home of Rockford - Rural 

City Hall -(Old, Rockford) 

Clock Tower Resort 

Coronado Theater 

Danfoss Corp. 

Davis Park 

Dekalb County Courthouse 

Ditullio's Italian Import Foods 

Edward's Apple Orchard 

Erlander Home 

Essex Corporation 

Faust Landmark Hotel 

Field of Honor - Loves Park 

Fiorello's Pumpkin Patch 

First Assembly of God Church 

First Congregational Church 

Flinn Middle School 

Girl Scout Office - Auburn St. 

Glen Haven Mill - Byron 

Goldie's Tattoo on Broadway 

Goodwill Industries - Kishwaukee 

Great Rockford Airport 

Guilford High School 

Gunite Corporation 

Harlem Amusement Park 

Head Start Rockford 

High Maintenance Solon 

Highview Retirement Center 

Ida Public Library 

Illinois Central Railroad Depot 

Illinois Railway Museum - Union, IL 

Illinois State Police Post-Pecatonica 

Jefferson High School 

Jefferson Street Bridge 

Jewish Community Center 

JMK Nippon Restaurant 

John Devereueawax Playground 

John Deere Hist. Site - Gnd Detour 

Kegal's Bike Shop 

Ken-Rock Community Center 

Kirkland, IL 

Klehm Arboretum 

Krape Park - Freeport 

Lafayette Hotel 

Lake-Peterson Home 

Let's Talk It Out Building 

Levings Lake Park 

Lincoln Middle School 

Lockwood Park 

Logli Supermarkets 

Lucius Reed Home - Byron 

Machesney Airport 

Magic Waters 

Marinelli Stadium 

Mendelssohn Club 

Memorial Hall 

Metro Centre 

Midway Theater 

Midway Village & Museum Ctr. 

Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips 

New American Theater 

North Suburban Library 

Old Post Office - Rockford 

On the Waterfront Festival 

PA Peterson Elementary School 

Ponds Funeral Home 

Poor Claire Nuns Monastery 

Poplar Grove Airport 

Rev'd Up Recreation Ctr. 

Riverfront Art Museum 

Riverside Bridge 

Robin Drive-in Theater 

Rock Cut Elementary School 

Rockford Bike Pathway 

Rockford Memorial Hospital 

Rockford Public Library 

Rockford Rescue Mission 

Rockford Seminary 

Rockford Speedway 

Rockford YMCA 

Rockton Old Stone School 

Roscoe Sportsman's Club 

Rotation Station Rec. Ctr. 

RVC Administration Farm House 

St. Anthony Hospital 

St. Edward's Church 

St. Elizabeth Community Ctr. 

St. James Church (Rockford) 

St. Paul Church of God in Christ 

Schmeling Lumber 

Searls Park 

Second Christian Church 

Serenity House 

Seton Center 

Sinnissippi Gardens 

Slavic Gospel Association 

State Street Bridge 

Stewart's Department Store 

Stronghold Castle 

Sundstrand Corporation 

Swedish American Hospital 

Time Museum 

Times Theater 

Tinker Swiss Cottage 

Toad Hall 

UIC School of Medicine 

Wagon Wheel Lodge - Roscoe 

West Middle School 

Wheeler Home - S. Beloit 

Whitehead Elementary School 

Winnebago County Courthouse 


Abrasive Machining - Chandra Lakey 

Aldeen Golf Course - Dave McQueeny 

Amerock Corporation - Mark Bellone 

Bloodpoint Cemetery - Genise Hall 

Broadway Covenant Church - Theresa Gregorcy 

Byron Dragway - Chad Palmer 

Byron's Old Fire Station - Brady DeNio 

Byron Old Soldier's Monument - Elizabeth Nace 

Capital Theater - Patricio Rucoba 

Danfoss Company - Cindy Nguyen 

DeKalb County Courthouse - Scott Berry 

DiTullios Italian Import Foods - Dawn Decker 

Fiorello's Pumpkin Patch - Kimberly Levings 

Flinn Middle School - Adam Fusinato 

Guilford High School - Thy Le 

Head Start Rockford - LaShunda Iverson 

Highview Retirement Center - Tyna Bogan 

Jefferson Street Bridge - Mike Clark 

JMK Nippon - Tan Nguyen 

John Devereueawax Playground - Brandi Brown 

John Deere Historic Site Grand Detour - Anna Ramsby 

Kegal's Bike Shop - Roman Steward 

Ken-Rock Community Center - Ryan Brannan 

Lafayette Hotel - Laurie Weddington 

Let's Talk It Out Building - Leteena Hawthorne 

Lincoln Middle School - Jason Hufford 

Logli Supermarkets - Maria Aldana 

Magic Waters -Maria Gonzalez 


Mendelssohn Club - Annette Harsvoort 

Mrs. Fisher's Potato Chips - Cristina DiVenti 

Old Post Office Rockford - Robert Lee 

PA Peterson Elementary School on 9 th - Alisha Schwanke 

Poor Claire Nuns Corpus Christi Monastary - Diane Herbig 

Poplar Grove Airport - Lee Carter 

Rev'd Up Indoor Recreation Ctr. - Patrick Johns 

Riverfront Museum - Glyn Villegas 

Rockford Public Library - Chris Smith 

Rockford Rescue Mission - Tim Hogan 

Rotation Station - James Bauer 

RVC Farmhouse/Administration Bldg. -Ani Panyanouvong 

St. Elizabeth Community Center - Spencer Anderson 

St. Paul Church of God In Christ - Karen Allen 

Schmeling Lumber - Debra Genovese 

Searls p$fk - Michelle Peterson 

Second Christian Church - Delia Hemby 

Serenity Hoi|se of RRM - Robbin Snodgrass 

Slavic Gpspel Association - Nichole Matthews 

State Street pridge - Scott Edlund 

Stewart's Department Store - Kyle Auman 

Sundstrand Corporation - Tony Saladina 

West Middle School - Kim Ponder 

Whitehead Elementary School - Allester Hightower 

Abrasive Machining-Not Just Another Building 

Chandra J. Lakey 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 

Chandra J. Lakey 
English 101 Section NDF1 
21 April 2002 

Abrasive Machining-Not Just Another Building 

There is an old rundown building on South Madison Street that stands guard over 
Ingersoll Centennial Park. It was used to create time, determine a child's education, and 
give birth to special machines. This building started out as the Rockford Watch 

The idea for the Rockford Watch Company was originally thought of in 1 866 by 
John C. Adams, a man who organized watch factories in various states from 
Pennsylvania to California. When he came to Rockford and tried to start one here, people 
did not reject or encourage his idea for a watch factory. He tried to locate land and 
property values rose. He left town and went to Elgin where he was able to start a watch 
company there (Olson 1). 

At a Rockford Committee meeting in 1873, Levi Rhoades and A. I. Enoch 
brought up the importance of a watch factory to the city. People responded better to the 
idea because they were frustrated with Rockford capitalists for the lack of promotion to 
the city's industrial status. They immediately began raising the $100,000 that they 
thought they would need to start it (Olson 2). 

After raising $150,000 to start the factory, there was a dispute about where the 
site should be. The argument lasted five months and finally ended up being between t\\ 
sites. Both sites were on opposite sides of the Rock River. If the west side site \\ as 
chosen they would receive a donation of $8,000. In the end, the east side site. \\ hich \\ as 
located a few blocks south of State Street, was chosen because they received a donation 
of twice the amount of the west side site (Olson 4). 


Immediately they started constructing the factory that was al40 foot by 32 foot 
three-story brick building. Geo. D. Clark was in charge of getting the machinery that was 
to be used in the building and doing the hiring and training of its 
employees. Seventy-five employees were hired. Everything was completed and 
production of watches started in February of 1876 (Olson 4). 

The company was very successful and even expanded their building in 1 884. In 
1887 the watch company teamed up with a watch case company that moved here from 
Racine, Wisconsin (Olson 7). 

Then, in 1896, the Rockford Watch Company encountered some financial 
problems because of the competition from Swiss watchmakers and other watch 
companies in the United States. After it was obtained by a group of businessmen from 
Chicago it was reorganized under the name of Rockford Watch Company, Ltd. Under 
this new management it is found that "half of the Rockford watches ever made were built 
between 1902 and 1915," (Olson 7). The business operated until it was closed in 1919 
and moved to Elgin, Illinois (Olson 7). 

There was a school built north of the Rockford Watch Company in 1885 called 
Rockford Senior High. Only empty space separated the two buildings. With the growing 
population, the school needed additions. Additions were put where the empty space \\ as 
in 1900 and in 1906. In 1913, the school built a north addition to the original part of the 
school. The school bought the former watch company in 1921 and used the southern pan 
of the building for administration for the Board of Education. The northern part of the 
building was used for industrial shop classes and had a girls gymnasium. Then, in 1932, 

an addition was put on that connected the northern part of the building to the 1906 
addition of the school ("Rockford Educational System Among Finest In State"). 

In 1940, the buildings in between the former watch company and the 1913 
addition were considered fire hazards by a state fire marshal. He recommended that they 
be demolished. The demolition of these buildings was put off because it was thought that 
a temporary use of them might be found during wartime (1942). No use was found and 
in 1944 the buildings were destroyed and the ground was leveled ("Raze Portion of Old 

The Board of Education leased the northern part of their building to W. F. and 
John Barnes in 1942. Their main plant was located west of them and they used this 
building to produce war materials. "What was formerly the girls' gymnasium of the old 
central high school on South Madison Street will become a unit in the nation's war 
production system," ("Old H.S. Girls' Gym to House War Industry"). The nature of the 
materials were unknown because of army restrictions ("Old H.S. Girls' Gym to House 
War Industry") 

W. F. and John Barnes bought the entire building in 1952 because the Board of 
Education had moved out of there and into its present location at 201 South Madison 
Street. The company built a one-story addition to the back of the building at an unknown 
date. They built specialty machinery that was sold to customers all over the world. Their 
customers would put in an order as to what kind of machine they wanted and \\ hat they 
wanted it to do. W. F. and John Barnes would build the machine. With the expansion of 

the company, they were able to design, manufacture, and ship more machinery than ever 
before (Finkenstaedt). 

Then, in November of 1963, W. F. and John Barnes was bought by Babcock and 
Wilcox. They owned all of their assets, personnel, and all facilities. The company was 
owned and operated by Babcock and Wilcox, but the name stayed W. F. and John 
Barnes. (Finkenstaedt) 

Sometime later, around 1980, Babcock and Wilcox sold the Barnes company to 
the McDermott Oil Company. The McDermott Oil Company told W. F. and John Barnes 
that they expected a return of at least 15% profit. A master scheduler that worked out of 
the Production Department named Rich Hammond recalls, "Times were extremely bad 
in the machine tool industry during these years. Barnes was producing at a 12% return." 
McDermott told W. F. and John Barnes that if things didn't improve they would be shut 
down (Hammond). 

The company had another year of producing at a 12% profit and the machine tool 
portion of Barnes started closing in 1983. By the end of 1984 the company closed 
entirely. Rich Hammond had this to say: "Barnes was a great place for me. I know 1 
would still be there if they had stayed open," (Hammond). 

Today the building is used by Abrasive Machining. They bought the building in 
May of 2001. Rich Hammond currently works at Abrasive Machining. He is sad to sec 
that this building has deteriorated throughout the years. He remembers how the janitors 
did a good job at keeping the floors clean and shiny. Today it would take much more 
than a janitor to restore this building. 

Abrasive Machining is a turning and grinding shop. They also perform the 
complete making of parts. "A customer will send us an order for whatever they need, we 
buy the material and make the order complete," Toby Lakey, machinist. 

Abrasive Machining just uses the first floor. They have done several repairs to it. 
The front offices have been fixed up and walls have been freshly painted. The second and 
third floors are not used and are in poor shape. The floors are torn up, windows are 
broken, and there are water stains from a leaky roof. There are holes in the floors where 
the floors below can be seen. Although the rooms on the second and third floor have 
aged, the wooden doorframes on each of the floors have remained untouched. 

Old buildings can hold many mysteries of how they were used and why they were 
used. They can hold a lot of history and hold very special memories for others. The 
Abrasive Machining building is no exception. 

Works Cited 

Abrasive Machining, Inc., front view. Photographer unknown. Acquired from 

Rockford Board of Education. Date unknown. 
Abrasive Machining, Inc., side view. Photographer unknown. Acquired from 

Rockford Board of Education. Date unknown. 
Board Room, second floor. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Rockford 

Board of Education. 1 92 1 . 
Diagram of Rockford Senior High. Acquired from Rockford Board of Education. 
Finkenstaedt, Kimball. "W. F. and John Barnes Co.: A Corporate Biography: 

Hammond, Rich. Interview. March 2002. 
Lakey, Toby. Tour of the building. January 2002. 
Lundin, Jon W. Rockford, An Illustrated History. Rockford, Illinois: Windsor 

Publications, 1989. 
Monahan, Robert. "Business and Industry." Sinnissippi Saga: A History of 

Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois. Ed C. Hal Nelson. Winnebago 

County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 1968. 146-148. 
"Old H.S. Girls' Gym to House War Industry." 3-24-42. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
Olson, Dean. "History". Local History Room, Rockford Public Library 1971. 
Raze Portion of Old School." 2-29-44. Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public 


"Rockford Educational System Among Finest In State." May 20, 1934. Rockfordiana 
Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Second floor rooms of Abrasive Machining. Photos by author. January 2002. 





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Aldeen Golf Club: 
The Golfer's $8.2 Million Jewel 


Dave McQueeny 

Spring Semester 2002 

Dave McQueeny 
April 2002 

Aldeen Golf Club: The Golfer's $8.2 Million Jewel 

Aldeen Golf Club provides a championship layout with all the perks of a private 
club and has no shortage of aesthetic appeal. Aldeen is home to many golfers and is the 
envy of other public courses around the nation. This golf club has given the city national 
recognition and has been no stranger to the pages of popular golf magazines. Rockford is 
a city that takes pride in its golf courses and one trip to Aldeen will make that evident. 

Aldeen is a beautiful and useful part of the greater Rockford area landscape and is 
conveniently located near Perryvile and SpringCreek. From Perryville turn West on 
Spring Creek and go about a quarter mile and make the second left down the half-mile 
entrance. Immediately behind the Rockford Aldeen Golf Club Sign and to the right of 
the sticky, black, asphalt road is Aldeen's signature hole, number eight. This challenging 
hole is easily identifiable by a large bolder-lined pond with an 8000-square- foot island 
green in the center ("The Course" No Page). Follow this scenic road past the practice 
center on the left until three tall flags, American, Aldeen, and Illinois come into sight. 
These flags mark the entrance of the clubhouse. Getting there is easy. The hard part is 
wanting to leave. 

Before the first fairway was mowed or golf ball was hit, the donor, Norris A 
Aldeen, had a vision to create a golf course that was a "Notch above" all municipal golf 
courses. He approached the Rockford Park District Board with seed money in 19S8. but 
the makings go back much farther than that. 

In 1927, Aldeen's mother, Elna, introduced her son to the game of golf and I life- 
long love for the sport. At age ten he began hitting balls at Harlem Hills Country Club 

Dave McQueeny - 2 

He lived on the corner of State and Prospect and he and his friends rode their bikes to 
Ingersoll and Sandy Hollow golf courses. "We were kids looking for something to do." 
Norris said. "We played golf in the morning and afternoon, and we would sometimes 
play so late we couldn't see the ball. We were typical kids who had a great time playing 
golf. It kept us out of trouble" ("Par. . ." 24). 

In 1928 Norris' father and his uncle founded American Cabinet Hardware Corp 
later renamed Amerock. The firm had humble beginnings of 20 workers and rented out 
one story of an old building that they had to enter on the roof. The firm decided to 
specialize in cabinet hardware and grew into the nation's leading producer (Nelson 
153). Things were going good, but when Norris' father saw his business struggle during 
the Great Depression he could no longer afford the memberships, so Norris quenched his 
thirst for golf at the municipal golf courses. Although the Aldeens rebounded and went 
on to prosper as industrialists, Norris learned his approach shots, and the value of public 
recreation on municipal fairways. That experience left an incredible mark ("Par. . ." 24) 

The Aldeens and other businesses contributed to make it a great city. Norris' 
father and uncle were very successful businessmen and it brought them great joy giving 
back to the community, so it is no surprise Norris continued in the family tradition of 
generosity. In 1979, after forty years with Amerock Corporation, where he served as 
chairman of the board, president, and CEO, he retired. This is when he congered up the 
idea for a championship golf course (Nelson 153). 

In the spring of 1988, Norris and his wife, Margaret, approached the Rocktbrd Park 
District about the golf course but asked that their identity be kept secret while the\ waited 
until the results came back from the National Golf Association study ("Dream " np) 

Dave McQueeny - 

"The National Golf Foundation, which did a feasibility study last year to determine need 
for another course, estimated there could be an additional 100,000 rounds in the market", 
said Dave Clayessens, Manager of golf services for the Rockford Park District ("New 
Golf. . ." 3A). "A quarter-million rounds of golf are played annually on Rockford's four 
public courses. There's no question that the Park District needs another course The 
district's four courses are used at near capacity and there are long waits during all 
traditionally busy times"("Local. .." 2B). 

Norris and his wife initially donated one million dollars for the course and offered 
their 143 -acre family farm as the land to build it on. The Aldeens were considerate and 
attached a requirement to their offer. The balance would have to come from golfers and 
not tax increases. "That's only fair; golf courses shouldn't compete with education and 
streets and police for scarce tax dollars"("Local. . ." 2B). 

With this in mind, the Park District hired an architect to get the project rolling 
Dick Nugent was chosen and given a $125,000 contractf'Challenging. . ." 6c). His 
experience in designing over 100 courses would clearly shine through in the finished 
product, but it cost lots of money. Originally, the project was going to cost 3 5 million 
dollars and was far less than what was needed. At one of the meetings architect Dick 
Nugent said, "You will get this. . ." for 3.5 million. The sum did not include: boulders 
around the pond, restrooms, fountains, green to tee cart paths, full irrigation, etc This 
did not deliver the "notch above" course Aldeen intended, so to fund it they decide to 
make the golfers pay for it with a surcharge and raised greens fees on the area 
courses(Giesler interview). 

Dave McQueeny - 4 

"More than 400 golfers have seen the possible fee increases through meetings in 
the past couple months or information through the mail," said Dave Claeyssens, manager 
of golf services for the Rockford Park District . Although the possible increases are 
estimates, Claeyssens said they have received "overwhelming support. There wasn't any 
negative comment" ("New Golf. . ." 2B). 

With the golfers behind them, they were ready to get started, so the Park District 
did an outside search and took in 50 applicants for "grow-in" supervisor. This job would 
consist of growing the grass, planting the trees, and seeing that they were properly 
maintained. They chose Ken Giesler. This decision was influenced by his history of 
working for the Park District and a great track record at two of the four city 
courses(Giesler interview). 

They were ready to get started, but a dilemma was on their hands Would they 
choose Rockford's very own " Rockford Blacktop" that did most of their park's work or 
choose Bruce Co. of Madison? They chose Bruce Co. because they had extensive 
experience in developing courses. This decision did not make Rockford Blacktop very 
happy, but the Park District settled their concerns with a contract for the state-of-the-art 
practice center (Giesler interview). 

The Park District left the office and went to the community. One half of the 
future development area had residents around it, so the District went out of its way to 
help the residents accept a golf course in place of what used to be a farm They had 
community meetings and Ken Giesler met on a personal level door-to-door He 
explained, they would be losing the solitude of rolling hills of corn but gaining the 
aesthetic appeal of the golf course and the added benefit of increased house and property 

Dave McQueeny - 5 

value. Some people were not crazy about the idea of golfers trudging through their back 
yard looking for their golf balls, but their concerns were accommodated along with the 
others. In the design of the course, they included hills and tree lines for these people and 
in one case did not put a lake by someone's house out of parents' concerns for their 
young children (Giesler interview). 

Amongst other things, environmental concerns helped shape Aldeen. The 
Rockford Park District consulted the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of 
Fish and Wildlife. "We didn't want to just go in and tear it up," Claeyessins said. "There 
are ducks and geese and wetland plants, and we wanted to be careful we didn't destroy 
that. Those types of things make the course more aesthetically appealing"("New. . " 8F) 

Now the course had city and community support so its no surprise things got 
started fast. The Rockford City Council voted to award a $369,760 contract to Sclichting 
& Sons for running a water main to the main area. A 2-mill sewer line was approved for 
the course and the housing that would develop. Ground breaking time was getting close 
(Paving np). 

All the pieces were in place and now they were ready for construction August 23, 
1989 was the ceremonial ground breaking day ( cc New Aldeen. . . " 8F). The task was 
huge and would take about two years, so cooperation was important. To accomplish this, 
the Superintendent and Bruce Construction worked together sharing ideas and equipment 
Bruce Construction used giant excavators to scrape all the top soil off of the land and put 
it in huge mountain size piles where they waited until the all the lakes were dug an the 
hills and terrains were carved out. Then they could once again offer a rich black blanket 
of top soil (Giesler interview). 

Dave McQueeny - 6 

To have a successful course there needs to be an efficient and well-placed 
irrigation system to keep the grass looking green and beautiful. So Bruce brought in 
Midwest Irrigation Co. out of Davenport, Iowa to do the one million dollar project 
(Giesler interview). When they laid the lifeline of the course they made sure no water 
was wasted, but recycled instead. To accomplish this, they laid an extensive network of 
perforated drain tile a few inches below the surface of the soil that led back to the ponds 
that fed the sprinkler system. This system was friendly to the environment, cutting down 
on the use of water, and to their operating expenses (Giesler interview). 

Any project of this magnitude encounters some problems. Natural springs are a 
good thing, especially in the case of the spring-fed pond on hole number eight, but what 
about when you don't want a pond? Hole number nine's tee area was fed by a natural 
spring and did not support grass. Putting in drain tile and routing the spring to a nearby 
creek accomplished the solution to this problem. As if the land wasn't enough, the 
workers had their voice in things. Although Rockford Blacktop did not get the contract, 
they were still very much involved (Giesler interview). 

One dark day in the Aldeen construction phase, a Rockford Blacktop union 
steward saw a Bruce Construction union laborer operating a sand pro machine and turned 
him in. His offense was that he was doing an operating engineers job. People got upset 
and the project came to a hault. Bruce agreed to pay a tine or not do it again The project 
resumed after being stopped for one day. That was the only day it was stopped during the 
two years (Geisler interview). 

When Ken Gieslor asked Architect Dick Nugent, "What's the biggest problem 
when developing a course?" He answered, "Drainage, Drainage. Drainage" (Gieslei 

Dave McQueeny - 1 

interview). Rain can be a huge enemy when constructing a course and after it is finished. 
One such incident of heavy rains washed the top soil down into the lake bottoms and 
Bruce Co. had to come back and use heavy equipment to get it back out. To prevent this 
from happening again, Ken and his staff used erosion blankets and silk fences. Given all 
these precautions, menacing rain found another way to do more damage. Six inches of 
rain fell in just two days and washed out the seeding on holes ten, eleven, and twelve and 
before it was finished washed the sand out of several bunkers. This was devastating to 
the hard efforts of Ken and his staff of up to 35 seasonal workers(Giesler interview). 

After the ground was sculpted and the top soil laid, Ken and his crew began the 
"grow in stage". In these tender early stages of course construction most things are done 
by hand prior to putting a mower on it. The grass is hand mowed, hand groomed, and the 
greens are hand seeded. The new seed constantly demanded water, but the new sprinkler 
systems were too powerful for the freshly-seeded ground, so Ken and staff brought in 
hoses by the extremes, up to 500 feet, to water the course with sprinklers by hand 
Things were going according to schedule, but some things were still missing to achieve 
that "Notch Above" course Aldeen was looking for (Giesler. . . interview). 

Aldeen's gift of two million dollars, 143 acres of land, $300,000 in trees, and over 
$10,000 in private donationsCNugent. . ." np) were greatly appreciated and helped the 
course take shape, but more was needed to make his dream come true. Norris was 
involved every step of the way giving ideas, making design changes, consulting with the 
superintendent, Park District, and construction company. So, it is no surprise when more 
money was needed Aldeen was there to the rescue. Sprinklers were added to the roughs, 
full length cart paths were put in allowing motorized golf carts to be used when the 

Dave McQueeny - 8 

ground was wet preventing them from getting stuck in mud tearing up the tender wet 
ground, and seven hundred tons of boulders were brought in from Wisconsin and 
individually set in concrete around the hole number eight pond. The finishing touches 
were being executed. Now the question was, "When can we start golfing?"(Giesler 

Before they could open the course, they had to figure out the puzzling problem 
with the main five-acre lake. The water level in this massive lake was dropping at an 
alarming rate of up to a foot a day. The back-up water supply was working overtime 
trying to keep the level up, but as fast as water went in, it mysteriously disappeared. Ken 
and his staff racked their brains trying to solve this mystery. They tried everything, even 
sending in divers to take a look around. That is when they remembered that during the 
construction phase the tractors unearthed several old clay drain tiles. At the time they 
filled them with dirt and they weren't a problem. But the incredible weight of the water 
pushed the dirt out of the pipes and the water followed right behind it and into the creek. 
The course could not maintain a prestigious level with an empty lake in the middle of it, 
so the Park District sent divers into the lake to cap off the drain tiles. The problem was 
fixed and the course was ready for golfers' approval (Giesler interview). 

Grand opening was scheduled for July 26, 1991 on Margaret Aldeen's birthday 
This beautiful addition to Rockford and the golfer's enthusiasm made this a grand day, 
but the entire course did not open on time, only the back nine. The front nine did not 
open on time because excessive rain washed away the seed and it became too late in the 
year to replant, so it opened the following year with the practice center. This did not 
dampen spirits. They got a taste of the championship course and knew the wait would be 

Dave McQueeny - 9 

worth it. Norris was so impressed he dropped his memberships at Forest Hills CC and 
Monatesse CC and devoted himself to Aldeen (Giesler interview) 

Shortly after all eighteen holes opened for play In 1 992 the reviews started 
pouring in. The Norris A. Aldeen Golf Club was recognized in 1992 by a panel from 
Golf Digest ranking the course in the top 30 new public courses opened during the year 
More than 350 new golf courses throughout the United States opened for play that 
season. In addition to recognition by Golf Digest, the Aldeen Golf Club also received an 
award of special mention by the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association as one of the 
Outstanding Facilities new to Illinois in 1992 ("Welcome to the 1993 ..." No Page). 

In 1995, Golf Digest subscribers gave Aldeen Golf Club 31/2 stars on a scale of 
one to five; that's between "Very good. Tell a friend it's worth getting off the interstate 
to play" and "Outstanding. Plan your next vacation around it" ("Aldeen" 28). 

Oklahoma State University and Golf Digest worked together for the first time to 
rank 309 U.S. cities, based on access to good and affordable golf. Golf Digest concluded 
that Rockford is a great place, ranking it 12 th overall and top among midsize cities in 
"America's Best and Worst Golf Cities". The news was welcome for residents of an area 
that took a beating in Money magazine's "Best Places to Live" survey ("Rockford 
Tops..." 4A). 

The major difference between the Aldeen Golf Club and the existing public golf 
courses is found in the construction of the facility. The United States Golf Association 
(USGA) specifications were adhered to when the facility was built. This scientific 
approach to construction allows for better drainage and root promotion for the high 

Dave McQueeny - 1 

maintenance bent grass (Giesler No Page). This results in a well-manicured top notch 

The uniqueness does not stop with the construction of the course There are 68 
well-placed flat sand bunkers and three beach sand bunkers that adjoin three water 
hazards. Aldeen also has treacherous water hazards that come into play on eleven of the 
eighteen holes. The greens and fairways alike are undulating and multi-tiered. Hole 
number eight is highlighted by an island green and every hole has four tee areas (Giesler 
No Page). A higher standard of maintenance, state-of-the-art practice center, telephone 
reservations, and a full service pro shop with a PGA teaching professional are just a few 
of the perks ("Appropriate. .." No Page). 

To maintain this high quality facility, golfers are asked to adhere to appropriate 
golf attire when using the course and practice center. Shirts and sleeves are required. No 
tank tops, halters, or cut-offs and shoes must be worn at all times ("Appropriate. . .'TMo 

Like many other things, Aldeen' s tee times break away from the traditional. Tee 
times are spaced at ten minute intervals compared to eight minutes at other public 
courses, allowing golfers more leeway to play this challenging course Since foursomes 
are not sent out so closely together, it discourages slow play and back-ups 
("Rockford's..." April 1992). 

The championship layout, the ten minute tee times, and the golf dress code 
attract a more serious and respectful golfer. This is why the course has more 
tournaments, play-days, and golf outings than any of the other Rockford courses In 2001 
Aldeen was nominated for the envied State Amateur Tournament The tournament 

Dave McQueeny - 1 1 

travels every year and picks the best course in the location and chose AJdeen over other 
nominees. This puts Aldeen into a new class of recognition with Monatessee Country 
Club and Forest Hills Country Club, the only other Rockford courses that have hosted the 
State Amateur Tournament. Aldeen is preparing to host a U.S. Open Qualifier. The top 
finishers of this tournament are invited to play in the U.S. Open, which is one of the 
largest PGA events next to the Masters tournament. This is something no other Rockford 
courses have accomplished (Geddes Interview). 

Aldeen does not just cater to the competitive golfer. It gives opportunities to all 
skill levels as is evident by their 60 clinics for kids, women, men, and seniors. PGA 
Professional Duncan Geddes and his two assistants teach these clinics. It was Norris' 
wish to have PGA pros teaching at a state-of-the-art facility and is the only Rockford 
public course to have PGA pros on staff(Geddes interview). 

The combination of a championship course at a public facility is a recipe for 
happy golfers. When asked what they think of the course the golfers' opinions are 
positive, like that of college golfer David Klass. As a skilled competitor on the ISU golf 
team, Dave has traveled around the country and played many championship courses 
including Bay Hill of Orlando and LaCantera of San Antonio. After sampling some of 
the nation's best courses, Dave said, "Aldeen still holds a high ranking in my opinion of 
good golf courses. The layout of the course, speed of the greens, length, and how well it 
is manicured are very impressive (Klass Interview)." 

Satisfaction is not limited to the golfers. Aldeen has won favor in the 
environmentally conscious public eye. Aldeen posts signs that tell what chemicals the 
course is treated with and they use chemicals that break down faster than traditional 

Dave McQueeny - 1 2 

chemicals ("Environmental. . . ." 9R). Through the hard efforts of Glenn Bereiter, 
Superintendant, they have achieved certification in the Audobahn Society, a program that 
seeks to preserve wildlife, wetlands, and proper use of chemicals (Geddes interview). 

With this happy median between golf and the public it is no surprise that housing 
development has boomed. Dave Kemper of Kemper construction said, "The golf course 
is what helped me develop the kind of subdivision I wanted"("Golf Course. . . " 1 A) 
Existing home values have appreciated up to 60% and lots in the surrounding area are 
selling for more("Par for. . ." 1 A"). "The subdivisions would have been there had the 
golf course been built or not," Dan Marske, vice president at Bob Nieman Realtors, said. 
"But the proximity helps us sell the lots" ("Golf Course. . . " 1 A). 

Aldeen is more than just a great golf course providing top-notch play to the 
public. It is the center of a thriving community of subdivisions providing aesthetic 
appeal and recreation as well as added value to homes. It is home to wildlife and native 
plants. It gives Rockford a good reputation in the nation's golfing eye. It preserves some 
of Rockford's natural resources and preserving it will preserve one of the things that 
make Rockford a great city. 

Dave McQueeny - 1 3 

Works Cited 

"Aldeen" Rockford Magazine May 1995 28. 

"Aldeen Golf Club and Practice Centre" Rockford Magazine May 1995 4 

"Aldeen Practice Centre Opens Today " Rockford Register Star 22 March 1995 

"Aldeen Dedicates Parkway, Golf Club Entrance" Rockford Register Star 20 September 

"Appropriate Golf Attire Stressed on New Course" The Rockford Golfer Volume 21 

Spring 1993: No Page. 
Barrie, Vance. Office visit at 401 S. Main St. Rockford, Illinois, 1 February 2002. 
Cunningham, Pat. Rockford : Big Town, Little City . Rockford, Illinois: Rockford 

Newspapers, 2000. 
"Dream Golf Course Construction Near" Rockford Register Star 28 July 1989: no page. 
"Environmental Concerns Hit Courses" Rockford Register Star 30 April 1990: 9R 
Geddes, Duncan. Office visit at Aldeen Golf Club. Rockford, Illinois, 22 March 2002. 
Giesler, Ken. Office visit at Sandy Hollow Golf Course. Rockford, Illinois, 19 February 

Giesler, Ken. "Golf Course Development" The Rockford Golfer Volume 17. Edition 1 - 

1991: No Page. 
"Golf Course is Already a Major Attraction" Rockford Register Star no date. 1 A. 
"Golf Rounds Up in City, County" Rockford Register Star 23 September 1994. No Page 
Klaas, David. Personal Interview. 17 March 2002. 
"Local Golfers Challenged" Rockford Register Star 9 October 1988 2B. 
Monahan, Robert. "Business and Industry: Home Town Genius at Work " Sinnisip pi 

Dave McQueeny - 1 4 

Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County Ed. Nelson, C. Hal. 

Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial Committee, 1968 

"New Aldeen Course to Feature Multiple Tees" Rockford Register Star 30 April 1990 8F 
"New Golf Course May Boost Greens Fees" Rockford Register Star 1 2 January 1 990 3 A. 
Norman, Webbs. Personal Interview. 17 April 2002. 

"Norris A. Aldeen Golf Club" The Rockford Golfer Volume 17. Editionl-1991: No Page 
"Nugent Adds His Artistry to Rockford, Ill's 5 Municipal Course" Rockford Magazine 

1991 no page. 
"Par Excellence." Rockford Magazine May 1995 24-25. 
"Par For The Course" Rockford Register Star 21 July 1991 : 8 A. 

"Paving Way to New Development" Rockford Register Star 3 May 1990 no page. 
"Rockford Tops Golf Digest List of Best Cities" Rockford Register Star 12 June 1998: 

Rockford's Ultimate Golfing Experience. Aldeen Golf Club. Pamplet. April 1992. 
Stromquist. Personal interview. 1 997 
"The Course." No Date Available. Aldeen Golf Club. 15 February 2002. 

"Welcome to the 1991 Golf Season" The Rockford Golfer Edition 1-1991 volume 17 

Enviting entrance marks the corner of Spring Creak and Reid Road (Photo by Author 30 April 2002). 

A tribute to Aldeen overlooking the enormous practice putting given (Photo by Author 30 April 2002) 


Two hundred yards from the flag on the par five 1 st hole ( Photo by Author 30 April 

An enormous pond and lakeside bunker guard the green to the par three hole number five 
( Photo by Author 30 April 2002). 

Limestone masonry highlighting hole number eight's island green ( Photo by Author 30 
April 2002). 

Side view of hole number ten's heavily landscaped tee area ( Photo by Author 30 April 

Mounds, sand, water, and thick rough demand a precision shot on this par four fourteenth 
hole ( Photo by Author 30 April 2002). 

No shortage of aesthetic appeal on this par five eighteenth hole ( Photo by Author 30 
April 2002). 

The Life of the Ziock Building 

Mark Bcllone 
Spring Semester 2002 
English 101 
Rock Valley College 



~vlX- f 



Mark Be I lone 

English 101 Section NDF1 

6 May 2002 

The Life of the Ziock Building 

The Ziock Building, once known as the tallest in Rockford, Illinois, experienced 
many changes throughout the years starting with its conception in the early 1 920s. This 
structure, and a company by the name of Amerock, shared a mutual relationship 
throughout the years that has influenced the life and longevity of both company and 
building. What the future holds for this tall white building may lie within its rich history, 
the innovative vision of the individuals that gave birth to this building, and the people 
who were able to keep it alive. 

The tallest building, located in downtown Rockford, began as a dream in 1919 for 
an ambitious one-armed Dutchman, named William Henry Ziock Jr. Ziock's vision was 
to construct the tallest building in the area. He accomplished just that. 

William H. Ziock Jr. was born November 26, 1863 in St. Louis, Missouri. 
William's father (William Henry Ziock, Sr.) is listed in the St. Louis City Directory in 
1857 as a salesman. Later, William Sr. and his brother, August, became merchants and 
business partners in William Ziock and Company. The Ziock brothers manufactured 
hosiery, gloves, and other fancy goods. At some point in the late 1800s William and 
August became estranged, and consequently William Sr. relocated his business mk\ 
family to Rockford, Illinois (Ziock-Hamilton, Jean). The Ziock lamil\ name was well 
known in the knitting industry, which helped chart Rock lord's course as an industrial 
center, and gave it prominence in the textile world (Ziock, I lenr) . ( >hituar\ ) 


William Henry Ziock Jr. continued family tradition by devoting much of his life 
to building up industries, mainly in the textile Held, which gave Rock ford high standing 
among the nation's manufacturing cities. Early in the 1880s, William Ziock Jr. organized 
the Rockford Mitten Company, which later became the Rockford Mitten and Hosiery 
Company. In 1910, he founded the B.Z.B. (Burson, Ziock. Brown) Knitting Company, 
which then became the Manikin Hosiery Company with William H. Ziock as president. 
He also founded the Rockford Paper Box Company (Ziock. Henry, Obituary). Along 
with starting several large firms, he constructed the 13-story building at 416 South Main 
Street. He changed the city skyline by constructing the Ziock building, which for years 
has been a South Main Street landmark. William Henry Ziock Jr. was certainly one of 
Rockford's pioneer industrialists and a man of vision and foresight. 

William H. Ziock was one of the first to realize this community's industrial 
potential. As one of his business firms gained a place in the business world, he organized 
another. Mr. W. H. Ziock was the president of the Rockford Woolen Mills, which was 
located across the street from the future sight of the Ziock building. He owned 49% of 
the stock of that company, and decided to construct a building for his Woolin Mill 
operation, known as Ziock Industries (Aldeen 32). 

Construction for this building began in 1912, and was completed in 1°20 (Lundin 
121). This building housed a small number of textile industries. It started first as an 1 1 - 
story building, and in 1926 he added a 13-story building next to the existing 1 1 -stones 
He wanted it to be known as the Ziock Tower, the highest building in the eil> . 1 le was a 
strong-willed individual, or better known by the individuals that dealt with him. .is a bull- 
headed Dutchman. He had lost his one arm in an accident when he became impatient ami 


angry while trying to show one of his employees how to put a belt on a machine wheel 
(Aldeen 32). This bull-headedness was apparent in man) different ways. 

The Ziock Building was constructed on every square foot of available ground 
space belonging to Ziock. The entrance to the building was from a narrow alley, which 
made it extremely difficult for trucks to make deliveries and pick-ups. It seemed to 
indicate when Mr. Ziock had the building constructed, he did not listen to anyone's 
advice regarding accessibility to the shipping bays. There was a vacant lot to the north of 
the building, which was owned by someone from Chicago. No trucks could back into the 
elevator without first having to enter that rented lot. To gain access to the building, Mr. 
Ziock had to rent the lot from the Chicago owner (Aldeen 33). 

The building had no facilities for heating, so all the steam used for heating, as 
well as for manufacturing purposes, had to be purchased from Rockford Woolen Mills 
across the street. One may assume, at the time, when Mr. Ziock constructed this building 
and made these arrangements, he did not consider that he owned 49% of that company. 
He had built the building with a purpose of leasing it to the company of which he was 
president, but a depression hit that industry. It was a depression prior to the big 
depression of 1929 and 1930. When the company ran into the red, the majority of the 
stockholders got together, and since Mr. Ziock owned 49% of the stock, they conspired to 
vote him out of his management position (Aldeen 34). He was then left with the Ziock 

Mr. Ziock Jr. tried his best to get reliable tenants for his building, but with little 
success. On the lust floor there was a garage, which was thought to be serving the 
bootleg trade. There was a print shop on one door, and a fruit packing compain on 


another. Mr. Ziock's son (Roy Ziock) managed a woolen weaving operation in this 
building, but none of the businesses paid very well (Aldeen 33), Mr. Ziock was looking 
for something more substantial to fill the vacant space, and a renter that would generate 
more income for him. There were two gentlemen that seemed destined to start a 
company in that building. 

These innovative pioneers, G.W. (Gedor Wilhelm) and Reuben Aldeen, were 
brothers that emigrated from Sweden. G.W. came to the United States in 1904, and 
Reuben followed in 1913 at the age of 16. They each had different skills and talents that 
would later compliment each other during the development of Amerock (Aldeen 5). 

G.W. developed his skills as a toolmaker at the National Lock Company. He 
possessed a great deal of mechanical know-how, and demonstrated he could be very 
creative. He had the ability to design products, tooling, and machines, and was most 
comfortable at a drawing board. In essence, he could solve practically any problem in 
production by introducing more sophisticated ways to manufacture the product. These 
talents later contributed to Amerock's beginning, evolution, and success. After 
establishing a reputation as a hard worker, and a reliable employee of the National Lock 
Company, G.W. allowed Reuben to come to the United States (Aldeen 3, 4). 

Reuben was better with the people-side of the business by establishing policies, 
and later creating the company charter and culture. lie was determined to create a lamil\ 
atmosphere where the company showed how they cared about their employees. This 
later made evident with the introduction of profit sharing, recognition awards, employee 
news publications, Christmas Dinner, and the Company Picnic. He presided over the 
organization from the beginning with six employees, and when it eventual I) grew lo 


employ 1 ,600. I Ic also had more business savvy than (i.W '.. and was more assertive 
when dealing with business issues. Although (i.W. was ten years older, he deferred lo 
Reuben for practically all of the financial and business decisions of the company ( Junior 
Achievement 1). 

Through the aid of G.W., the National Lock Company also employed Reuben. 
Reuben had the capability of seeing the "Big Picture" when it came to the details of the 
operation. Reuben, more so than G.W., became disenchanted with National Lock, and 
had visions of starting his own company. Reuben was more of a dreamer and a visionary, 
but was also realistic. He followed his aspirations by setting out to evaluate the 
possibilities of starting a company that would produce a line of product he and G.W. 
were familiar with (Aldeen 9, 12-16). 

Reuben realized that he would need to rely on, and recruit, other people who had 
certain skills he and his brother did not have. There were a handful of men that Reuben 
convinced to become involved with starting the new company. The group of men 
adopted their specialized roles, and kept each other informed. The Aldeen's philosophy 
while establishing the organization, was when a new member was added, the person 
selected would be hired based on experience, future value, and contribution to the 
company. Almost everyone that was selected to join the company was asked because ot' 
an immediate pending need, or to get the company over a specific hurdle during a period 
of lime. Most of the people Reuben acquired contributed on a part time basis because 
they also worked at National Lock. Among some of the talents initial!) recruited, was an 
expert plater, a tool maker, and a salesman. Obviously the Aldccns were not able lo start 
the company by Hipping on a switch, and these indi\ iduals spent much o! then tune 


putting together the details and determining the needs for starting the company. They 
took huge risks, such as the possibility of losing their jobs at National Lock if discovered, 
and they made tremendous sacrifices with time, and money ( Aldeen 27-3 1 j. 

In 1928, these men mortgaged their property, and put every cent they had into the 
company to be named the Aldeen Manufacturing Company, (later to become The 
American Cabinet Hardware Corporation, again later to be known as Amerock). G. W. 
Aldeen and Rueben Aldeen, the original founders, soon looked for a location, or at least 
floor space, for their newly developed company. They originally looked for space on the 
east side of town where they felt they belonged due to their Swedish heritage. With little 
success, they looked to the west side of town where they inquired about the Ziock 
building, which was practically vacant at the time. 

The Aldeens were not interested in leasing an entire floor because it would have 
been too expensive for them. They settled for half the floor space by renting the 12 l 
floor, which was approximately 7500 square feet. The 12 th and 13 l floors were located 
in the tower portion of the building. To reach the rented space on the 1 2th floor, the 
Aldeens had to take an elevator to the 1 1 th floor of the building, then walk up a type o\ 
fire escape to the roof of the building, then walk across a section of the roof into a side 
door that appeared to be a fire door. They had to then walk down a couple o\' steps, 
which lead into their little cubby space. 

It wasn't much, but they agreed to pay $160.00 per month I here was no written 
lease agreement made with Mr. Ziock. lie was notoriously known for not wanting to 
sign any kind of paper. Regardless, they made a mutual agreement, that in the event that 
the Aldeens would vacate or Mr. Ziock wanted them out. either parts would have to give 


plenty of notice (Aldeen 33). With this lease agreement, no one could have speculated 
this would become the beginning of a business. eventually known as Amcrock, that 
would influence the life and longevity of both the company and building. I hey officially 
opened the doors under their charter on December 28, 1928 (Aldeen 3 1 , 40). 

Reuben finished the year, 1928, at National Lock. With the mind-set of ''Time is 
Money," the group wasted no time in getting started. Reuben and G.W. met at 7:00 a.m. 
in the alley next to the Ziock building on January 1 , 1929. They had to wait in the cold 
until the night watchman came down to open the door. As described by Reuben, "It was 
a sobering feeling to enter that empty room, bare walls, bare ceilings and some second 
hand equipment on the floor ready to be installed. And we began to realize the 
obligation, and the responsibility we had taken on (Aldeen 35)." 

The first order of business was to erect line shafts in the ceiling, set up some high 
horses and planks, and drill holes in the ceiling. While individual motor-driven machines 
were available at that time, it was not a luxury they could afford. They used the old- 
fashioned belt-driven method, using a pulley and line shaft system (Aldeen 35). 

The plating expert, Swan Broman, erected the plating department. The equipment 
he had to work with was extremely primitive by comparison to today's standards. The 
plating tank consisted of an old freezer compartment. The only new pieces of equipment 
they had consisted of a generator they purchased from an electrical firm on credit, and a 
polishing lathe that was simply a motor mounted to a frame with a buffing and polishing 
wheel on each end of the drive shaft. It was similar to the small shoo bulling machines 
that we are familiar with today (Aldeen 36). Il was difficult to get the projects rolling, as 
lime was a rare commodity for the men. 


For instance, G.W. still had his position at National Lock where Reuben had 
resigned. With every free moment, G.W. worked on innovative ideas to be used on the 
new endeavor. It would have been extremely difficult to try and compete in the market 
with standard hardware. Companies such as Stanley Works and National Lock Company 
were much too large to compete against without designing something new (Aldeen 36). 

To survive, they took on a number of odd jobs while they continued to develop 
their newly founded company. The jobs were not limited to developing and producing 
cabinet hardware. When the manufacturing processes were developed, they attempted to 
solicit business to pay for further improvements that would benefit the company (Aldeen 

In 1928 chrome plating came into existence. Prior to chrome, nickel plating was 
used. With the development of their makeshift plating department, they were able to pay 
the rent and buy some additional equipment by plating parts for automobile paint shops. 
They also solicited doctors and dentists to chrome plate and polish their medical 
instruments. When the tool department was ready for operation, they took on jobs from 
other manufacturers. They were unsure what to charge these companies for the tooling 
work, and usually undercut whoever was performing the work previously. As a result, 
the Aldeens were the brunt of some verbal abuse, such as being called scabs. 
Nevertheless, the conflict was caused primarily due to the lack of experience with 
quoting any kind of tooling work. The closest thing to hardware the> made at that time, 
were clamps for a folding bleacher seat. There was a company in Indiana that was 
interested in producing seats that would clamp onto bleachers, and oiler some comfort b\ 
having a padded cushion and backrest (Aldeen 37-39). 


In June they received their first order for hinges. I Iw order came from a table 
company in Sheboygan. The order amounted to $2.68. and the total sales (or the month 
of June was that same $2.68 (Aldeen 46). 

New innovations were needed, and again the group rose to the occasion. They 
developed the idea of having matched hardware. It may seem extremely simple today, 
but at the time, no one had thought of it. After all, there were matching plates, 
silverware, and cups, but no one yet had come up with matching hardware for the 
kitchen. This matched hardware concept, more than anything else, was thought to be the 
cornerstone upon which Amerock was built. This philosophy is still significant, and acts 
as the building block for the products that Amerock offers today. Change was prevalent 
and welcomed for continuous improvement and growth (Aldeen 46). 

One of the members, Lou Bernatz, was recruited because of his exceptional sales 
and merchandising experience and reputation. Bernatz felt very strongly about changing 
the company's name to be more meaningful, other than the Aldeen Manufacturing 
Company. He felt that a name change was needed to indicate what they were in business 
for. Lou suggested the name American Cabinet Hardware Corporation. It was a longer 
name than desired, but the Aldeens agreed they could not tell their story with a shorter 
name. Therefore, in the fall of 1929, the company was renamed to American Cabinet 
Hardware Corporation (Aldeen 47; "Brief History" 1 1 ). 

Along with the name change came company growth. In Jul} 1 930, the) added a 
few more employees, and sales were approximately $12,000. August sales were about 
$13,000. Just as they thought the business was showing the beginning signs of success, 
the unexpected happened (Aldeen 48). 

Bel lone- 10 

In fall of 1929, the Stock Market crashed and business fell off completely. For a 
year or two, they didn't ship a full case of hardware. Practically all the product was 
shipped in carton-lots, and sent by parcel post. I hey were forced to watch the company's 
finances even more closely. Like many companies during that period, they feared they 
had come to the end of their rope. The American Cabinet Hardware Corporation was on 
the verge of folding. There was a long and constant drain on the resources due to the 
poor economy. While there was some gratification in obtaining new customers, there 
was also concern due to increased financial problems. A new order usually meant new 
tools, and a new size of material to stock in steel inventory. The company was not able to 
order the materials in smaller quantities, and was usually forced to make longer 
production runs. They built stock to insure prompt service for additional orders. To help 
their situation they sold some limited shares of stock to investors. Although the Aldeens 
struggled during this time, they knew they were not alone (Aldeen 53, 54). 

Mr. Ziock, the landlord, was also having financial difficulties, and decided to visit 
Reuben at the plant. In addition to the rented space on the 12' floor, the American 
Cabinet Hardware Corporation now occupied the entire sixth floor, and half of the 
seventh floor of the building (Aldeen 57). The purpose for Mr. Ziock's visit was to tell 
of an appointment he had with a Chicago banker, and to ask Reuben if he would be 
interested in going along. Since they both could use additional funds to help their 
businesses, Mr. Ziock said that he was willing to introduce Reuben lo the banker After 
all, Mr. Ziock had a vested interest in the Aldeeifs success due to the rent income he was 
receiving from them. Reuben accepted the imitation, and a couple of days later he was 
picked up by Mr. Ziock\s scvcn-passcngcr, chauffer-driven Packard After speaking with 

Bel lone- 1 1 

the banker. Reuben received a credit line for $10. 000, bin Mr. Ziock was not nearly as 
successful. As a result, Reuben stated that it made him tool a little chesty and important 
as they drove home in that big car (Alddcn 58). Reuben realized if a loan were needed, 
he would have to make a trip into Chicago. The local bankers and businesses were less 
fortunate during this trying time (Aldeen 57, 58). 

Of the nine banks that operated in Rockford, seven had closed their doors, never 
opening again. The Faust Hotel also went under. Of the 43 furniture factories, none of 
them survived bankruptcy or reorganization. Other factories in town had some level of 
problems, with perhaps the exception of Barber-Coleman Company, and Ingersoll 
Milling Company (Aldeen 61). 

It was frequently mentioned to the Aldeens, that it is remarkable they survived the 
depression when so many went under. They responded humbly by saying, "We were 
very fortunate." Little do people know, it was not merely the depression they survived, 
but the problems they also faced with the National Lock Company. F.G. Hoaglund. (the 
National Lock President), swore to the Aldeens that he would defeat them at any cost. 
Hoaglund had become enraged over losing employees to the Aldeens, and also having to 
compete against them producing cabinetry hardware. As Reuben recalls, "Mr. 1 loaglund 
never referred to us as anything but 'The Outfit Over The Garage' or 'The Alley dang'' 
(Aldeen 51). This obsession of destroying the Aldeen's company, ultimately contributed 
to bringing down National Lock. To counter I loaglund's intentions, the Aldeens became 
more expedient with getting new products to market. Ihc\ were also made aware of 
corporate spies working for National Lock that would make attempts to find the Mdeerfs 
prototypes, and steal ideas, the Aldeens purposely left fault) samples and prototypes 

Bel lone- 12 

accessible to the spies, which they took and invested in. I he product became more of 
burden to National Lock and allowed time for the Aldeens lo launch new products. I he 
Aldeens were constantly looking to branch out into something new and different to 
increase profits (Aldeen 61-76). 

One of the Aldeen's salesmen, having the Wisconsin and Minnesota territories, 
called on a company by the name of Andersen Frame Corporation (later to known as 
Andersen Windows) located in Bayport, Minnesota. At the time, the Andersen Frame 
Corporation had difficulties with a window design requiring special hardware. 
Andersen's intention was to bring out the special features desired in the new window. It 
was suggested that G.W. might be able to help with the design. Not only did G.W. 
design the special hardware that was required, but also improved the design of the new 
window. In many instances, Andersen allowed G.W. to use their tool room to make 
changes in the hardware that he had brought with him when he visited their facility 
(Aldeen 77-79). 

Fortunately, the business with Andersen grew very rapidly. In just a few years, 
the Andersens decided to give all of their hardware needs to the American Cabinet 
Hardware Corporation. This also included the window operators, which they previously 
purchased from a company in Detroit. This additional business practically equaled the 
dollar volume that the hardware business had generated. Mr. Andersen had the 
philosophy to be loyal to all his suppliers and customers, almost to a fault This was 
certainly a great opportunity for the Aldeens to build a strong relationship with Andersen 
This relationship remains strong today (Aldeen 7^-SO). 

I id lone- n 

Another significant threshold was (he introduction of packaged hardware. It 

a new way of merchandising. It may not seem like much, or \cr\ significant, hut as late 
as 1934 bread loaves were not wrapped. Even baking flour was scooped out of a barrel, 
put into a paper bag, and placed on a scale. As for cabinet hardware, the consumer had to 
buy the hardware out of a bin, and ask the clerk to count out the number of screws that 
were required for installation. This was a long and tedious process, and became even 
more difficult when additional products were being purchased and matched, such as 
pulls, knobs and hinges. According to Reuben, the concept of matched hardware and 
merchandising were the two pillars upon which the Amerock structure was built, and has 
rested. He also thought that the mechanical features of the hardware paid for the two 
pillars (Aldeen 81, 82). 

G.W. again showed his talents by introducing hinges for cedar chests that allowed 
it to be opened without having to pull the entire chest away from the wall. He also 
designed a special hinge for phone-a-graphs. The Aldeens also ventured into a new line 
of hardware for caskets. This venture never got off the ground. It seemed that everyone 
had different ideas as to what hardware should be put on caskets. This minor set back did 
not discourage the Aldeens. New design was a large contributor to the company's 
success (Aldeen 85). 

The Aldeen's company fared well in the years o\' I C J?~ to I ( M I . I he biggest 
problem they experienced was with delivery. They had grown too last for the lacilit) and 
could not make shipments fast enough. The /lock building became a problem to operate 
in the multi-stories. \\\ utilizing the I. 1 '' floor, tlu-\ were essential l\ operating from the 


tower. With business going so well, it literally seemed as though they vvere sitting on top 
of the world. Unknowingly, again, they were faced with a new challenge (Aldeen l )2). 

The United States was at war, and restrictions and curtailments were introduced 
almost overnight. The Aldeens were fortunate to have a stockpile of nickel, copper, and a 
fair share of steel. While other manufacturers jumped into defense work immediately, 
and the work was available, a decision was made to make hardware until all the steel and 
nickel was gone. The Aldeens felt they had paid dearly for the desirable position they 
were in. Besides the materials were hard to come by (Aldeen 92, 93). 

During the war, the Aldeen's workforce was reduced to approximately one-fourth 
of its former size. They were still able to maintain all of the skilled help and know-how 
in the organization. The salesmen were allowed to gain other product lines, such as 
Rockford Screw Products, as long as they did not jeopardize trade secrets. The salesmen 
fared well during this time, and the company did not lose any of them (Aldeen 95). 

Furthermore, the Aldeens also had to deal with NRA, the National Recovery Act. 
Among many things, it forbade women to work any overtime. At the time, they had 
many women working for them who would share rides with other workers from nearby 
companies. As a result, as people talked, the Aldeens were accused o\~ letting the women 
start work before the scheduled start time in the morning. The Aldeens and the workers 
were interviewed, which caused a great deal of conflict from the neighboring companies 
Even after the interviews, the NRA pressed the issue. Apparently, the) did not believe 
the Aldeens, and were merely attempting to collect a fine of some kind, h was cvenluall) 
dropped. Besides, the company had other things lo be working on, such as production 
improvements and new product design (Aldeen %), 

I id lone- 15 

As (Mic of .company's salesmen was hobnobbing on ihe goll course with some «»| 
the high Arm) and Navy officials, he discovered there was .1 shortage of cable terminal ; 
These cables" were made on automatic screw machines, of which there was a tremendous 
shortage. This sounded like an incredible challenge and opportunity to propose to the 
Aldeens. G.W. was asked to develop a method to produce the cables terminals on a 
punch press. The biggest struggle, was dealing with the Air Force personnel. Their 
limited contributions were due to a lack of mechanical experience. They became more of 
a constraint than an aid. They were, however, successful after many hours of 
experimentation, and research. This led to different projects for the Armed Forces 
(Aldeen 93, 94). 

The American Cabinet Hardware Corporation produced many items for the war 
effort. Production was booming, and by 1942 the company occupied the entire building 
("Brief History" 1 1). The items they made were used in airplanes, submarines, aircraft 
carriers, and military housing. The hinges and clasps were used for the .50 caliber 
ammunition boxes. Similar hinges were used in army camps, and navy training stations. 
Bomb lugs, bushings, straps, and sash locks, were other items produced by the company 
at that time (Flyer Pin-ups). In conjunction with designing and manufacturing products 
in-house, the Aldeens were asked, in isolated cases, to produce items made by other 
companies (Aldeen 94, 95). 

In addition, a business in Frccporl, Illinois, Micro switch, complete!) converted 
lo defense work and became extremely hard pressed lor making timely deliveries The 
Aldeens were approached to absorb some o\ the business ' making micio s\\ itches, m\A 
the close limit switches, which had extreme!) liuhl tolerances I he heauh of takmc on 


this work was that the engineering and technical work was already completed. Ii was just 
a matter of putting the micro switches into production. As recalled by Reuben. "'I here 
was one switch that was designed to activate a bomb, which would blow up a plane in the 
event of an emergency landing in enemy territory." He had also mentioned that he would 
have liked to continue producing the switches (Aldeen 94. 95). As the war ended, the 
American Cabinet Hardware Company was ready to get back to the hardware business 
(Aldeen 98). By 1945, the company returned to making civilian products ("Brief 
History" 11). 

The company was back to doing what they did best, making cabinet and window 
hardware. By 1949, just twenty years after starting in the 7,000 square feet of rented 
space, annual sales were almost 7.7 million dollars. The need for expansion was 
discussed frequently ("Brief History" 7). 

The Aldeens became more and more uncomfortable in the rented 13 stories. They 
tried everything to overcome the disadvantages of a multi-story building. Even with 
chutes and a conveyor system outside the building, they found it to be extremely difficult 
to make it work for them. They considered building a factory, and concluded it was the 
right thing to do. They purchased 15 acres on Harrison Avenue and Ninth Street, which, 
at the time, was in the factory district of South Rockford. They proceeded with building 
a warehouse at that location. This purchase was listed in the newspapers, and caused a 
great deal of concern to a certain individual (Aldeen 101 ) 

The news reached the ear of Mr. Ziock, who became \cr\ alarmed. 1 le had not 
forgotten the early struggles he had experienced with the tallest, practical I) empi\ 
building in Rockford. Out of frustration, he said, "Tin going to sell this building " fhe 


Aldeens, along with others, caught wind of Ziock's comment, and the Aldeens went to 
find out how much he wanted for it. The Aldeens, however, had an advantage over 
anyone else that may have wanted the building. Years earlier, they had purchased the lot 
directly south of the building. They never really wanted the building, but the situation 
presented itself where they could not afford to have their prosperous and successful 
business become homeless. Ziock agreed to sell, and the Aldeens purchased the Ziock 
Tower in 1949 for $315,000. The American Cabinet Hardware Corporation now owned 
the tallest building in Rockford. They soon found, that again there would be a need for 
expansion (Aldeen 101-103; "Brief History" 7). 

Things began to move even faster for the company. It was no longer the same 
little company as they remembered from the early beginnings. The payroll exceeded 900. 
and expansion was a dire need. In 1950, a new plant was opened in Meaford, Ontario, 
Canada ("Brief History" 7). By 1951, a decision was made to construct a reinforced, six- 
story building on to the south side of the present South Main Street structure at a cost of 
$400,000 ("Addition"). But even then, it was clear that more space was going to be 
needed as these six floors were quickly filled with manufacturing processes (Aldeen 103. 
104; "Brief History" 11). 

There was property available, located on the corner of Auburn Street and Central 
Avenue. This was 94 acres of farmland at the time. In 1954. the Aldeens purchased this 
land to build a new modern facility. Linden & Son received the building contract, and 
construction for the new plant was started the same year (Aldeen 111.1 2(\ 1 27V This 
building is still used today, but has undergone numerous additions. I he Aldeens were 
then faced with a new, and unfamiliar dilemma. 


The Aldeens reached a threshold, and had to decide what to do with the large- 
downtown building that had served them well. They had almost a million dollars 
invested in the structure, and at the time commercial buildings were being constructed. 
There was not much use for a multi-story building for manufacturing. They were, 
however, successful in selling it to investors that were interested in buying it cheap, 
leasing it for a few years, and selling it for a profit. These investors, L.C. Miller, Charley 
Thomas, and Gene Abegg (President of The Illinois National Bank) bought the building 
in 1954 for $400,000. Arrangements for the Aldeens to lease the entire building were 
made with the stipulation that the new owners would assume the building maintenance 
costs. The American Cabinet Hardware Corporation, as they grew, would later find this 
to be a benefit (Aldeen 112-114; "Brief History" 1 1). 

As the company was undergoing plans to move the operation, it seemed to be a 
good time to make other changes. The company was still known for the long name of 
American Cabinet Hardware Corporation. There were many attempts to shortcut the 
name, and more "American" named companies were cropping up. The old name had 
served them well, but by 1957, it was felt the name Amerock might suit the image of a 
more modern company. Besides, it seemed to coincide well with the move into the new 
plant. The word, Amerock, stems from a contraction of the words American and 
Rockford (Amer-ock). As they continued to lease the South Main Street Plant, the new 
name was placed on the water tower, at the top of the building, for the community to see 
(Aldeen 127, 128; "Brief History" 8). 

The live-year lease to the South Main Street was up in 1959. I'hc owners had 
suffered numerous bills for maintenance repairs. It became a burden to them when the\ 


were forced lo pay for repair companies lo maintain the building. I lie\ essentially 
pleaded for the Aldeens to purchase the building back from ihem. B\ now, Amcrock 
30 years old. The crunch for space continued, and they bought back the South Main 
structure. It was renovated, and became the Amerock Window Division, and served the 
company well for years (Aldeen 129, 130). 

In 1994, the Amerock Window and Cabinet Divisions consolidated into the 
Auburn Street Plant (Urbanski). At that point the South Main Street building became 
vacant, and once again available for sale. At least one investor, Tom Wold of Prudential 
Construction and Development Corporation, was interested in purchasing the tall 
downtown building. He purchased the old "Ziock Tower'" using Cal DeWeerdt Reality 
for $300,000 in May 1998. He felt the building was well suited for condominiums, 
apartments, or light commercial businesses. To this day, the building stands abandoned, 
and empty ("Brief History" 1 1; "Developer buys"). 

The once prestigious white building, known as the Ziock Towers, and the tallest 
building in Rockford, is now weathered and showing its age. Amerock and this building 
shared many ups and downs during their lives together. Throughout the years, Amerock 
has continued to grow to become a prestigious company, while this tall building sits idle. 
One can only hope that someone, someday, perhaps Tom Wold, will return pride lo this 
great white tower, and allow it to share its rooftop view once again. 


Pictured to the left is the north-side of 
the Ziock Building. It is estimated to 
have been taken in the mid 1 920 's 


i m 

This is a more recent picture 
taken from approximately the 
same angle on February 23. 
2002 by the author. 


Pictured, is the south side of the 
Ziock Building located at 416 South 
Main Street, and is estimated to 
have been taken in the mid 1 920' s 

In contrast to the picture taken above, 
the more recent picture at the left was 
taken from approximately the same 
angle on February 23, 2002 by the 



» « • rimeiodk T^wtueuxf pklfo&tq . • • ': j # > 4 tfrncioeAPvotfalma fat Vtctnf 

Pictured, are the actual posters of the products manufactured tor the World 
War II effort (Ameroek Library). 


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Prccmon Bombing j requires , perfect con 
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Pictured, arc more of the actual World War II posters (Ameroek l.ibrar> ). 


Pictured, are Amerock employees operating punch presses at the South Main Plant. It is 
estimated to have been taken in the late 1 950s (Amerock Library). 


This picture of the Amerock South Main Building, towering over the other 
downtown structures, was taken during the late 1950s or early 1960s (Sauer). 


■ ■ i —»———»— 

This picture is an illustration, by Jim Moore, of the move from the South Main Plant to 
the New Auburn Street Plant. The Aldeen's (Norris, G.W., and Rueben) are leading the 
way (Amerock Library). 
















■«— I 






















_ c 


— i 

— EL 


The approximate year this photo was 
taken of Amerock (Window Division 
South Main Plant) is 1983 (Sauer;. 

Mark Bel lone 

English 101 Section NDF1 

6 May 2002 

Works Cited 

"Addition For Amerock Will Cost $400,000." October 7, 1948. Rockford Star. 

February 2002. 
Aldeen, Rueben A. "The Amerock Story". July 14, 1975. 134 pages. 

Unpublished, and in the Amerock Library. 1 5 January 2002. 
"Amerock Exodus." January 13, 1957. Drawn by Jim Moore. Amerock library. 
Amerock, South Main Building, towering over other structures. Photographer unknown. 

Acquired from Fred Sauer (Amerock Employee, Maintenance Manager). Date of 

photo estimated to have been taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s. 
Amerock, South Main Plant, aerial view. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Fred 

Sauer (Amerock Employee, Maintenance Manager). Date of photo estimated to 

have been taken in 1983. 
Amerock, South Main Plant, rooftop view looking north. Photographer unknown. 

Acquired from Dick Grap (Amerock Employee, Materials Planner). Date of photo 

estimated to have been taken during the construction of the Metro Center. 
Amerock, South Main Plant. South Main Street and Cedar Street. Personal photo by the 

author. 23 February 2002. 
Amerock, South Main Plant. View of north-side of the building. Personal photo b\ the 

author. 23 February 2002. 
"Amerock Wins Legion Award." October 7, 1948. 

Rockford Star. February 2002. 

Bradley, Tom. (President, Amerock Corporation). Personal Interview. February 2002. 
"Brief History of the Amcroek Corporation." Author Unknown. November 1973. 

Pages 1-12. Unpublished, and in the Amerock Library. 15 January 2002. 
"Buy Circus Grounds As Site of Future Factory." January 13, 1939. 

Rockford Star. February 2002. 
"Developer Buys Old Amerock Building." July 24, 1998, 1 D. 

Rockford Register Star. February 2002. 
Flyer Pin-ups (World War II), Author Unknown, In the Amerock Library, 

1 5 January 2002. 
"Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame", Author Unknown, 1-1-90, "First Draft", 

Pages 1-2, Unpublished, and in the Amerock Library. 15 January 2002. 
Lundin, Jon W. Rockford: An Illustrated History. Rockford, Illinois: Windsor 

Publications, 1989. Pages 115, 120-125, 128, 198-199. January 2002. 
"Major Renovations in River District." July 29-August 4, 1998, P 1 & P 2. 

Rockford River Times. February 2002. 
Nelson, C. Hal. ed. Sinnissipi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, 

Illinois. Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County Illinois Sesquicentennial 

Committee, 1968. 
Punch Presses, Photographer unknown. Acquired from the Amerock Library. Date of 

this photo is estimated to have been taken in the late I950*s. 
Urbanski, Robert. (Human Resource Manager at Amerock Corporation). 

Personal Interview. January 2002. 

Ziock-Carroll, Esther M. (Cousin to Granddaughter of Mr. William Henry Ziock) 

Personal Correspondence by E-mail. February 2002. 
Ziock Building, Rockford, Illinois, South Main Street and Cedar Street. 

Photographer unknown. Acquired from Al Bulter (Amerock Employee, Materials 

Planner). Date of photo estimated to have been taken in mid 1920's. 
Ziock Building, Rockford, Illinois, View of north-side of the building. 

Photographer unknown. Acquired from Al Bulter (Amerock Employee, Materials 

Planner). Date of photo estimated to have been taken in mid 1920's. 
Ziock-Hamilton, Jean. (Granddaughter of Mr. William Henry Ziock). 

Personal Correspondence by E-mail. February 2002. 
Ziock, W. H. 93, Dies; Rites Today, Obituary. February 11, 1957, and February 12, 

1957. Rockford Star. February 2002. 
Ziock, W. H., Industrialist W. H. Ziock Dies at 93. Obituary. 

February 11, 1957, and February 12, 1957. Rockford Register. February 2002. 

Blood Point Cemetery: Flora's Most Popular Cemetery 

Blood Point Cemetery 


Genise Hall 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 

Genise Hall 

English 101, Section DX 

13 May 2002 

Blood Point Cemetery: Flora's Most Popular Cemetery 

Blood Point Cemetery has gained much popularity since its humble start in 1 837. Open 
stretches of prairie was all that covered both in and around what is known today as Blood Point 
Cemetery. Once this open space was settled and became populated the need for a cemetery 
became obvious. 

Construction of Blood Point Cemetery was considerably easy for the small town of Flora. 
Blood Point Cemetery has incurred multiple changes over the years from its beginning in 1837 to 
today. Along with the changes made to the cemetery there have been changes in the visitors. 
Now visitors come to try and verify the stories and legends that have been spread instead of 
paying respect to the dead buried within. 

Arthur Blood and his wife Laura were the first white settlers to come to what is now 
known as Flora Township in the fall of 1835 ( The Past and Present of Boone County. Illinois 
314). Slowly the surrounding area increased in population as other settlers also started their 
homes in Flora. Among the first to settle in this area after Arthur Blood was Mr. Pennell. A. M. 
McCoy, a large family by the name of Russell, Abel R. Blood, the Case family, and Peter 
Nichols ( The Past and Present of Boone County, Illinois 314). This small group of seven men. 
most of whom had families settled what was needed to live and named their area "Flora" 
meaning flower derived from the primitive beauty of the landscape ( The Past and Present of 
Boone County, Illinois 314). 

Approximately a year-and-a-half after the first settlers made their homes in Flora 
Township, the community decided they needed to choose a section of land to place the bodies of 

Hall 2 

their dead loved ones. Many of the children were dying between birth and eight years of age 
(Boone County Illinois Cemetery Inscriptions) and the adults were coming down with and dying 
from consumption (a form of tuberculosis). (Rock River Branch Librarian) 

The settlers chose a portion of land located along the newly completed Blood Point Road. 
With the help of the community, which devoted both time and effort, the cemetery took less than 
a year to complete. When someone died the settlers used sandstone to make their headstone 
(Gail Bennett Interview). Since the cemetery was located along Blood Point Road, which was 
named for the Blood family due to their much appreciated help in the construction of the road 
and the road dead ended at the Blood family's claim, they named the cemetery Blood Point 
Cemetery (Royal). 

Upon completion of the cemetery and after the naming of it, the settlers had one more 
problem. Who would take care of the cemetery's needs? Those needs included: mowing of the 
grass, trimming of the tree branches, maintaining headstones, keeping out vandals, the burial of 
the bodies, and eventually the price charged to purchase a plot. The town came up with a group 
of twelve people who were known as The Blood Point Association. These twelve people were in 
charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery. Blood Point Association had one more 
duty which was to make sure all the bodies were buried with the head facing east, and the feet 
facing west so as the sun rose every morning so would the dead. The price for a single burial 
plot, which is 6feet x 6feet x 6feet is one hundred dollars and the price for a lot \\ hich is 25 feet 
long, lOfeet deep, and fits five caskets is three hundred dollars (Gail Bennett Inters ie\\ ). 

Hall 3 

By 1920 roads were changing from dirt to asphalt. For easier access to motorists, Gail 
Bennett the Flora Township Supervisor, added the turnaround in 1995 which goes through the 
cemetery starting at the east gate and continues to the west. Another addition was the chain link 
fence. With the multiple new occupants and the town growing, the cemetery was starting to get 
cramped, so the Blood Point Association opened a piece of land, previously donated but unused, 
to make it larger. In 1993, Blood Point Association handed over the job of caring for the 
cemetery to Flora Township. Now that the cemetery had expanded and received a turnaround, 
the removal of nine messy trees was next on the agenda and completed in 1995. Soon the 
millennium rolled around and cars became a necessity, therefore making the extraction of both 
concrete buggy slabs in front of the cemetery a priority in 2001 (Gail Bennett Interview). 

Due to the name of the cemetery, traffic in the Blood Point Cemetery area has steadily 
increased over the last forty years. Farmers creating scary stories and legends to go with a 
ghoulish name like Blood Point are the culprits of this now well-visited and vandalized 
cemetery. The stories were made up to scare away the already increasing traffic and teenagers 
destroying crops (Shane Martin Interview). 

For example, as legend has it, anyone who stands on a grave will flashback to a scene of 
what the unliving went through in his or her life (Shane Martin Interview), A close friend of 
Shane Martin named Donald had a real-life experience with this legend. "Donald \\ as \\ alking 
through the cemetery one day and stopped to look around, not knowing he was atop of a gra\ e. 

Hall 4 

Suddenly he could no longer hear the previously singing birds or the wind blowing through the 
trees. Instantly he was in a flashback of Vietnam, hearing an ever near helicopter approaching. 
Once Donald looked around to find the helicopter he saw the headstone with the grave's 
occupants name and Vietnam veteran inscribed" (Shane Martin Interview). 

According to Jason Foltz there is a legend explaining the murder of two little girls by an 
ex-caretaker ending with the ex-caretaker haunting the cemetery. During one of the several trips 
to Blood Point Cemetery this author has made, she saw and felt what she believes was this 
murderer ex-caretaker when she walked into the old caretakers shed. He was wearing old farmer 
coveralls and a plaid shirt when he walked over to her and told her to leave. 

Since this author has been visiting, she and others have wondered why there was never a 
sign making the name of this cemetery. Upon interviewing the Flora Township Supervisor Gail 
Bennett this author found the name Blood Point Cemetery was once clearly marked in rod iron 
on the middle entrance to the cemetery until one night vandals decided they wanted it for their 
own. Not only was the cemetery's name stolen, but also the street signs for Blood Point Road 
upon which the cemetery resides were stolen time after time. Due to this theft, in l l ) l )4 city 
officials were forced to shorten the street signs name to Bl. Pt. Rd. (Gail Bennett Interview ). 
Vandals didn't stop there but went on to knock over and sometimes break headstones and 
damage what is left of the caretaker's shed. 


Hall 5 

Blood Point Cemetery continues to make its creators proud, still serving the community 
as a place for the dead to rest. The cemetery remains strong despite the many good and bad 
changes. Through upkeep and maintenance this author believes the cemetery could be restored 
to its original beauty. One piece of advise from this author to both the current generation and 
generations to come: when visiting a cemetery at night or in the day be respectful. These are 
graves of people and everyone should treat people dead or alive how they would want to be 

Works Cited 

Bennett, Gail. Interview . March 1,2002. 

Caretakers shed. Photo by Author. March 2002. 

First tree headstone seen when walking in east gate, where the Shannon family is buried. 

Photo by author. March 2002. 
Foltz, Jason. Interview. Unknown date. 

Front of Blood Point Cemetery. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Garbage left by vandals in care takers shed. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Hyde, Hazel M. and Taylor Decker. Boone County, Illinois Cemetery Inscriptions. 

Looking toward caretakers shed from east gate entrance. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Looking toward the middle of the cemetery from east gate entrance. Photo by Author. 

March 2002. 
Looking from east side to west side of cemetery. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Martin, Shane. Interview . April 1, 2002. 

More garbage left by vandals in caretakers shed. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
More vandalized headstones. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Most recent burial. Photo by Author. March 2002. 

Old outhouse on right half of the caretakers shed. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Old sandstone headstone, no longer readable. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Remnants of a fire made in caretakers shed. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Rock River Branch Librarian. Unknown Date. 

Royal, Tyra. Record of the Bloods' Point Cemetery Association . May 12, 1932. 

Single vandalized headstone. Photo by Author. March 2002. 

Small headstones that represent each person's grave beside family headstone. Photo by 

Author. March 2002. 
The Past and Present of Boone County, Illinois . Chicago: H.F. Kett & Co., 1877. 
Tree style headstone. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
Vandalized headstones. Photo by Author. March 2002. 

View of turnaround from back of cemetery east to west. Photo by Author. March 2002. 
View of turnaround from back of cemetery north to south. Photo by Author. March 



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A History of Broadway Covenant Church 

Theresa Gregorcy 

14 May 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 

Theresa Gregorcy 
English 101 RRM 
14 May 2002 
Archival Essay 

A History of Broadway Covenant Church 

The history of Broadway Covenant Church is rich in visions. It began with 
the vision of Pastor Carl Westerdahl of the First Mission Covenant Church. After 
successfully launching The Everyman's Bible CIqss\nW\\ a record 1,869 men in 
attendance at the Faust Hotel in April 1939, the Pastor saw that the growing 
Sunday school c\ass in his church needed to branch out into the community. He was 
especially interested in the "unchurched" east side of Rockford ( Hitherto & 
Henceforth 15,21). 

Reverend Westerdahl sent a group of four high school students, along with 
N[r. Walt Nelson, to canwas the neighborhood in the Rolling Green area. The 
following week there were 20 in attendance with five teachers ( Hitherto <& 
Henceforth 21 ). Walt Nelson was one of the first "builders" of this church. He was 
involved from the very beginning when he became the first Superintendent of 
Broadway's Sunday School Program and later was the first chairman of the 
congregation. He served the church for 43 years (Nelson 21 February 2002). His 
son Wesley follows in his footsteps as a leading church member and as the Church 

Gregorcy - 2 

In 1940, funded by First Mission Church, Pastor Westerdahl rented space in 
a two-room schoolhouse on Broadway for $10.00 a month. Oscar Carlson was hired 
to clean for fifty cents a week! The Winnebago County Sovereign Elementary 
School or "The Sovereign Manor House" originally owned by two sisters, Louella and 
Edith Sovereign, was a public schoolhouse. The view was marvelous for the children 
as they looked out from the schoolhouse out onto the rolling hills. One childhood 
memory of Mrs. Virginia Roen was that she could stand at the back of her family's 
property (the present East High School location) and have a clear view of her 
mother walking her older brother to Sovereign School on Broadway! Later, Virginia 
Gustafson married Orville Roen and they became members of Broadway Covenant 
Church (Roen 11 February, 2002). Soon, the number attending the Sunday school 
was too great to meet in the schoolhouse. Since Sovereign School was the 
neighborhood public school, another thing to consider was keeping the schoolroom 
interesting, because the children met in these same schoolrooms all week long 
(Notes From Church History). 

This was the time after the Great Depression. People were buying land and 
building homes. Camp Grant was active with 300,000 soldiers. One German-born 
soldier, Werner Hoffman was stationed at Camp Grant and thought he would try 
this new Sunday school after being invited by his future bride, Louise! Werner is 
an active member at the church. He is another "builder" (Hoffman March, 2002). 

Gregorcy - 3 

By the end of 1942 the members of the Broadway Sunday School felt a need 
for a Sunday service but that would require a pastor. The Reverend Roald 
Amundson was called as the first student-pastor. He served for two-and-a-half 
years ("New Broadway Covenant Church Sets Dedication Rites" ). The need for 
larger quarters soon became apparent and four lots on Widergren Drive and 
Broadway were purchased. This land was host to many "tent meetings" but zoning 
for a church facility could not be approved. God had other plans. The Broadway 
Sunday School had to look elsewhere - for the enrollment had jumped to 126 
(Hitherto <& Henceforth 21). The lot was sold and The First Covenant Church 
purchased the "Bengston Homestead" and began remodeling it into a chapel. 

The land at 3525 Broadway occupied a whole city block. "This included an old 
farmhouse that had a beautiful lane of trees leading up to the house" {History of 
Broadway Covenant Church). John P. Bengston acquired this land in 1903 for 
$7,800.00. Upon his death, his land was distributed amongst his heirs. In 1946 
they sold to Miss Miriam M. Wetherell, a "Spinster" who bought, then sold the land 
at 3525 Broadway to The First Mission Covenant Church for $6,000.00. The 
payment was made in "Two notes of $2,000.00 cash and two notes of $1,000.00 
each" (Ferguson, Holland <& Co. 18-19). 

Soon after the land was purchased, the farmhouse was remodeled and was 
commonly referred to as the "Bengston Homestead." This became the home of the 

Gregorcy - 4 

Broadway Sunday School with the dedication on 22 February 1948. There were 
over 100 members present. Two years later, the Sunday School was dedicated with 
the name, "Broadway Chapel Society." A neon light was installed above the door 
entering the old farmhouse, a beacon for those in need {History of Broadway 
Covenant Church). 

Candace McCulloch, attended Sunday school in the "farmhouse" as a child. 
She recalls that her father often voiced his concern and his reluctance at leaving 
his precious daughter in "That fire trap." The building was a two-story farmhouse 
with no fire escape but to jump from the second story windows (Sowle 22 February 
2002). To remedy the concerns of members, a fire drill was held once a month in 
the year 1959 (History of Broadway Covenant Church's Sunday School. Video). 

Another member, Mrs. Rowena Dahlgren has been at Broadway since the 
1950s and remembers the very early days of knocking on doors and extending 
invitations to the neighborhood families to attend the Sunday School or to come to 
a special event. Before they had a church kitchen, she worked with other 
churchwomen to keep food cold in large tubs. These tubs needed to be refilled 
constantly with ice and cold water until the time came to feed the crowds. Their 
ingenuity and determination were a vital part in the popularity of the "socials" that 
the church put on. Many "lawn socials" were held as a type of outreach as well as an 
opportunity for everyone to enjoy food, music, a good speaker and each other's 

Gregorcy - 5 

company. It was a casual atmosphere where everyone felt welcome and a part of 
the church "family" (Dahlgren 26 March 2002). In 1956 there were 700 in 
attendance at one Ice Cream Social (History of Broadway Sunday School. Video). 

On 25 May 1952, Broadway Covenant Church was organized and established 
as a church, independent from First Covenant Church. There were 58 charter 
members and it was the 58 th church to be added to the Central Conference 
(Broadway Covenant Church Newsletter April, 2002). A new building was needed to 
house the growing numbers. A building fund had been established and totaled 
$1,121.00. First Covenant Church agreed to assume responsibility for the mortgage 
if the young congregation raised an equal amount ($10,600.00) for its building fund. 
The church membership did so thus acquiring a "debt free deed" to the property. 
The money raised was added to the building fund. 

It was not easy for the church to get the money necessary for the building. 
"We went to the bank but they threw us out" (Hjelm, "God Has Helped Us To Come 
This Far"). After receiving money from the Central Conference, some private 
individuals and "Frontier Friends" (a group dedicated to local missions) they were 
able to get a matching loan from the bank. Groundbreaking ceremonies were 
conducted 15 August 1954. Architect Charles Boettcher came up with the plans and 
Ollie Bakken and Sons did the construction. The sanctuary was dedicated 56 weeks 
later by the small congregation of approximately 90 members, most of whom had 

Gregorcy - 6 

directly participated in building the church and furnishing it. The cost of 
constructing the sanctuary totaled $120,000.00 ("God Has Helped Us To Come 
This Far"). 

In 1955 plans were delayed in building the North Second Street and Auburn 
Street Cloverleaf in Rockford. At the Coronado Theater the price for an adult 
ticket to see Francis In The Navy was 85 cents and a child's ticket was 25 cents. 
Mr. Roberts was showing at the Midway Theater. The "Milwaukee Braves" had 
Warren Spahn, Henry Aaron and Eddie Matthews. The road known as Broadway had 
been paved and every now and then a Greyhound Bus could be seen driving along its 
path (History of Broadway Covenant Church's Sunday School . Video). 

Today, along Broadway the landscaping welcomes the visitor in. During the 
spring, the church's east lot along Sexton is lined with lilac bushes in bloom, 
carrying the view to the southeast corner lot, on which stands a bench with flowers 
planted in memory of a loved one. There are many "memorial" gardens on this 
property. From spring through the fall, the flower beds house many colorful ground 
covers, bushes, and trees leading up to the front of the church and included as 
part of the structure, built-in flower beds whose stones match the building's. 

The church was built in contemporary gothic design. Its walls are of masonry 
and were built 100 feet long and 48 feet wide. There has been some remodeling 
done since then. The unit-decking roof does away with heavy beams and trusses 

Gregorcy - 7 

support it. Following the high-pitched roof, the eyes rest on the gracious wooden 
cross, suspended between the arches in the front, facing Broadway ("Build a 
Church With Plenty Of Space" 6). 

At the front entrance, all who enter are protected from the elements by an 
overhang and the walk is made easier with a ramp. Glass encloses this entry area. 
In the front lawn, is a lighted sign with the name of the church and a message for 
all who pass along Broadway. 

Or\ the west side of the church, is the site on which the original Broadway 
Covenant Sunday School was started in 1948, in a farmhouse. The Educational 
Fellowship Unit was added on 9 September 1962 after membership had grown to 
220 members. This addition included a basement, a lounge (later named the Nelson 
Lounge), kitchen, office and choir room on the first floor (Nelson 15 April 2002). 

From here, the two stories, which now house the Pastor's study, Sunday 
school rooms, library, and a preschool can be seen. As growth continued, these 
were added as part of the addition to the Educational Fellowship Unit. 
Construction was completed and a dedication was held on 11 December 1966 {Brief 
Church History 1995). There is a parking lot on this side and to the west of the 
parking lot, a memorial playground added in 1998. Surrounding this playground are 
beautifully kept shrubs, perennials and trees. They all stand as reminders of loved 

Gregorcy - 8 

ones no longer living whose wish was to provide a safe place for the children to play 
(Gregorcy 2002). 

The next area to reflect the church's growth was the sanctuary. This 
project, completed in 1973, afforded ar\ entirely new setting for the worship life 
of the church. The chancel area was opened and uncluttered, and was finished with 
a large 17-foot redwood cross. Remodeling also made possible a larger choir loft 
and the installation of a new Saville organ. The walls were painted white and gold 
carpeting was added. New pews were installed here and new furniture was added in 
the fellowship area. New communion symbols, pulpit and communion cloths were 
commissioned and the choir had new robes. This remodeling project planned by the 
architectural firm of C. Edward Ware and Associates cost $70,000.00 (Broadway 
Covenant Church. Dedication of remodeling of sanctuary 1973). 

To accent the sanctuary, the original windows were removed and replaced 
with beautiful stained glass windows. Helen Carew Hickman of the Conrad Schmidt 
Studios, New Berlin, Wisconsin, created the stained glass windows with the theme 
of "Peace". Each window has a symbol reflecting the overall theme. The dominant 
colors are blue, green and white. The lighting radiates perfectly from the east and 
west sides of the building to reflect the labors of Ms. Hichman (Hjelm 1-5). 

Beginning with the window in the southwest corner, " The Creator's Star " is 
seen in the middle panel. Alongside this panel are the two outer panels of this 

Gregorcy - 9 

window, each of which contains winq forms . These are remindful of the angels who 
sang, "Peace on earth, good will to men" at the nativity of our Lord, The Prince of 

The next window contains a rose in each of the three panels, which signify 
Christian love, used here to represent the peace, which exists in true friendship 
among all people. (This window stands as a memorial to Steve Patterson who was 
suddenly and tragically killed. It is a fitting way for the young people who knew 
Steve to remember that the rose symbolized the peace which flows from true, 
Christian friendship.) 

Olive branches in each panel of the last window along the west wall are 
meant to symbolize the peace (which we long for) among nations. 

Directly opposite the olive branches, along the east wall, appear candles. 
These candles, in their glass arrangement speak of wisdom and peace, which comes 
from knowledge or enlightenment, suggestive of peace through wisdom. 

Sunflowers in each of the next three panels remind us that just as the 
sunflower follows the sun with its face throughout the day, a Christian's life 
follows after God and His will. In that commitment is peace. 

Finally, the last window is the "Resurrection Window". It contains lily forms . 
The lily is recognized as the symbol of Easter, of resurrection morning and triumph 
of life over death. Peace is fulfilled in eternal life/ (Hjelm 1-5). 

Gregorcy- 10 

The remodeling dedication service or\ 2 December 1973 featured two young 
ministers who were products of the church, the Reverend Thomas B. Anderson of 
Dawson, Minnesota and the Reverend Kendall B. Dahlstrom of Detroit, Michigan. 
Pastor Robert Hjelm (the first pastor to be called full-time to the church in 1952) 
presided {Broadway Covenant Church. Dedication of remodeling of sanctuary 1973). 

During the 1995 remodeling of the sanctuary, the skills of the congregation 
were invested. Church members who are lawyers, architects and accountants 
assisted in the planning and legal aspects. Many others helped in the taking down 
and putting up of the new sanctuary. Much love poured out with all the paint and 
labor. The surface of the front wall was changed and stained glass windows were 
added. These windows nearly cover the length of the wall. There are two identical 
vertical panels on both sides of the large cross, which hangs in the center. 
Separate back lighting was added to illuminate the glass. The windows are made of 
glass in blues, greens and whites to blend in with the area surrounding them. The 
old wall was replaced with wood panels painted in deep hunter green. A large screen 
is hidden at the top of the panels and can be drawn down or put away at the touch 
of a button for the overhead or motion pictures. The floor of the sanctuary was 
raised and steps added. Continuous carpeting was laid on the floor of the church up 
the stairs, the sides of the raised area and all the front area, which holds the 
pulpit and the communion table and choir loft (Peterson, 28 March 2002). 

Gregorcy - 1 1 

It is in this very sanctuary that this author came to feel the welcome and 
love pour out from the people. In 1980 it was Mrs. Dahlgren's daughter who invited 
Theresa Gregorcy to bring her children to Sunday school. With her daughters 
attending, Theresa soon followed. Many people have come to Broadway in this way. 
It is by word of mouth that the invitations come. In the summer, the Vacation 
Bible School and Sports Camp are two very popular events for the neighborhood 
families. Recently, the church has taken it a step further by offering before and 
after care during the weeks these are held to better accommodate the needs of 
working families (Gregorcy 20 March 2002). 

Another way the church reaches out to families with children is through the 
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that meets at the church for two hours 
every other Wednesday. This is time for moms to get together and share concerns, 
ideas and to get encouragement and mentoring from some of the church women. For 
some of these women, this is the only time for themselves that they get all week! 
The children are taken care of too. The babies are loved in the nursery and the 
toddlers through five-year-olds are involved in activities and lots of play (Gregorcy 
20 March 2002). Just as in the "old days", they are still "building lives" over there 
at Broadway. 

It is the history of Broadway that keeps repeating itself. Build up a church. 
Build more lives. Tell someone about the church. Invite someone and befriend him. 

Gregorcy - 1 2 

Within the church, classes and workshops are offered to adults who want to teach 
or to be group leaders. There are even classes to help handle stress! All around, 
people are involved. They are always trying to keep the church building occupied or 
busy. It is usually busy with children. 

Evangelistic crusades have played ar\ important part in the life at Broadway. 
One life "built" at the church is the result of one such crusade. The Reverend Don 
Holmertz grew up in Broadway Covenant. He remembers the day he made the 
decision to give his life to Jesus. "I was just six or seven years old when I raised 
my hand, during a 1960s Grant Crusade." The Grants often came to put on programs 
for the church children and families. Reverend Holmertz dedicated his life to 
serve Jesus that day and attended the church until he went to college in 1971. He 
entered the seminary to become a minister and now serves as Pastor at Stillman 
Valley Covenant Church. Reverend Holmertz credits, "All the people who 
participated in the teaching, loving and serving" at the church. He learned about 
grace from the Pastors and leaders of the church. He learned of the importance of 
relationships and the "Building of bridges." (Holmertz 16 April 2002) 

In May 2002, people will come from all over the country and beyond to 
gather at the place where they began or lived most of their Christian lives. Some 
have gone on to serve the church as ministers, missionaries or hold positions with 
the District Office. Others have stayed to serve the church as Sunday school 

Gregorcy - 1 3 

teachers, secretary and youth or adult leaders. There ore others still who use 
their current skills in their employment to serve -the church. These are lawyers, 
architects, accountants, decorators, teachers, cooks, nurses, gardeners, 
carpenters, painters, babysitters and homemakers. 

"People building lives in Christ" has long been the motto that the members of 
Broadway Covenant hold to. The Greek word for "building", as used throughout the 
New Testament signifies the process of growth and development within the 
Christian community. It refers to the process of "edification, strengthening, and 
up-building" (People Building Lives in Christ ). Each one of these people, as believers, 
contributes to the "building" because they believe this to be the true work of 
Christ. Broadway Covenant Church is a congregation of people who are building 
their lives and the lives of others in the neighborhood, the city of Rockford and 
the world around them. The mission remains the same as when the church began. 
To reach out, touch and build the lives that enter through the doors. 

"In 50 years the people of Broadway have seen 200 seasons of grief, 
\r\crease, growth, decline, birth and death. These are all a part of the church life." 
(Holmertz 14 April 2002) 


Eva Ahlstrom 
Oscar Ah Istrom 
Donald Anderson 
Lorraine Anderson 
Charles Brinkman 
Clara Brinkman 
Mary Ann Brinkman 
Harold E. Carlson 
Ruth Carlson 
Eric Clauson 
Marie Clauson 
Florence Clauson 
Adolph Dahlgren 
Rowena Dahlgren 
Gladys Dahlgren 
Victor Dahlgren 
Helen L. Deatherage 
Mayford Engstrom 
Pearl Engstrom 
Gerald Fast 
Walter Fast 
Helen Green 
Oscar Green 
Mrs. Bert Gunnarson 
Doris Hartman 
Roy Hartman 
Mrs. Lloyd Hinton 
Rev. Robert Hjelm 
Marilyn Hjelm 

Louise Hoffman 
Werner Hoffman 
Einar Holmertz 
Irene Holmertz 
Eleanor Holmertz 
Roland Holmertz 
Glen Hopkins 
Ruth Hopkins 
Carolyn Houy 
Hazel Nelson 
Oscar Nelson 
Martin Nelson 
Doris Nelson 
Walter Nelson 
Arnold Nelson 
Wesley Nelson 
Marjorie Otto 
John Otto 

Lenora Poppenhagen 
Matt Poppenhagen 
Mary Lou Poppenhagen 
Orville Roen 
Virginia Roen 
Margaret Saaf 
Milton Saaf 
Le Roy Smith 
Orian Smith 
Eileen Westberg 
Florence Westberg 

Gregorcy - 1 4 

Works Cited 
20/20 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes. February 2002. No Author. Citing results 

from the 2001 Rockford Census Report. 
"Bengston Homestead." Photo. 1948 Dedication. (Shows "Neon Sign" in front.) Church 

Photographer unknown. 
Brief Church History. Notes from 27 January 1995. No author. 
"Broadway Chapel Sunday School 1944." Photo. Henceforth <£ Hitherto- First Mission 

Covenant Church 7& h Anniversary. Photographer unknown. 
"Broadway Covenant Chapel." Photo. Rockford Register-Republic . No date. 
Broadway Covenant Church. Dedication of the Remodeling of the Sanctuary 1973. No 

"Broadway Covenant Church." Photo. 1984 Directory. Olan Mills photograph. 
"Broadway & Home Missions." The Covenant Companion. Vol. XL VIII. No. 41, 

9 October 1959. 
"Broadway, Rockford Enjoys New Facility." The Covenant Companion, Central Conference 

E dition. Vol. LXIII No. 3. 1 February 1974. 
"Build A Church With Plenty Of Space." The Covenant Companion. Vol. XLVTII. 

No. 41, 9 October 1959. Page 6. 
Dahlgren, Rowena. Early member of Broadway Covenant Church. Phone interview 

25 March 2002. 
Dahlgren, Rowena. In-person interview 26 Inarch 2002. 

Gregorcy - 1 5 

Ferguson, Holland A Co. Abstractors of Title 1979. Pages 18 and 19. 

"God Has Helped Us To Come This Far." The Covenant Companion Vol. XLVTII 

No. 41. 9 October 1959. Pages 4-5. 
Gregorcy, Theresa. Author, member of Broadway Covenant Church, Teacher with 

Five Points Preschool at Broadway Covenant Church. 
A Historical Statement. Church dedication 1955. No author. 
History of Broadway Covenant Church. 1980 No author. 
History of Broadway Covenant Church's Sunday School. Video 1990. 
Hjelm, Reverend Robert. "Our Sanctuary Windows, A Mighty Legacy." From 

dedication of stained glass windows at church service 2 December 1973. 
Hitherto <& Henceforth First Mission Covenant Sunday School 75 th Anniversary 

2 May 1954. No author. 
Hoffman, Werner. Early member of Broadway Sunday School and Broadway 

Covenant Church. Phone interview 25 ^arch 2002. 
Holmertz, Reverend Donald. Pastor, Stillman Valley Covenant Church. Former 

member of Broadway Covenant Church. Sermon quotes from 14 April 2002. 
Holmertz, Reverend Donald. E-mail interview 16 April 2002. 
"Inside The Farmhouse." Photo from church records. No date. 

Photographer unknown. 

Gregorcy - 1 6 

"Martin Hawkinson Co.'s Addition to Rolling Green" Map. Holland Ferguson A Co. 

Abstractors of Title 1979. Page 24. 
Nelson, Wesley. Member of Broadway Covenant Church. Church Historian and 

architect involved in 1973 remodeling. In-person interview 7 February 2002. 
Nelson, Wesley. Phone interview 11 February 2002. 
Nelson, Wesley. Phone interview 15 February 2002. 
Nelson, Wesley. Phone interview 21 February 2002. 
Nelson, Wesley. Phone interview 26 February 2002. 
Nelson, Wesley. In-Person interview 15 April 2002. 
"New Broadway Covenant Church Sets Dedication Rites." The Rockford Morning 

Star , 28 August 1955. Page C7. 
Notes From Church History. No date. No author. 

A Past To Remember. Prelude in the 25 th Anniversary pamphlet, 1977. No author. 
"Pastor Westerdahl." Photo. Hitherto <& Henceforth First Mission Covenant Church 

75 th Anniversary, 2 May 1954. Page 14. Photographer unknown. 
People Building Lives In Christ. Mission Statement of Broadway Covenant Church. 

No date. No author. 
Roen, Virginia. Early and current member of Broadway Covenant Church. Church 

Librarian. In-person interview 11 February 2002. 
Roen, Virginia. Phone interview 18 February 2002. 

Gregorcy - 1 7 

Roen, Virginia. Phone interview 20 February 2002. 

"Sanctuary." Photo. 1955. Photographer unknown. 

"Sanctuary." Photo. People Building Lives In Christ. 1973 Church Directory. 

United Church Directories photo. 
"Sanctuary." Photo. Easter Sunday 31 March 2002. Wayne Womack, photographer. 
Sowle, Judy. Secretary, Broadway Covenant Church. In-person interview. 

31 January 2002. 
Sowle, Judy. In-person interview 4 February 2002. 
Sowle, Judy. In-person interview 11 February 2002. 
Sowle, Judy. In-person interview 22 February 2002. 
Sowle, Judy. Telephone interview 10 April 2002. 
"View From East Parking Lot." No date. Photographer unknown. 
"Walter Nelson." Church founder. Photo. Hitherto <& Henceforth First Mission 

Covenant Church 

75 th Anniversary. Page 21. Photographer unknown. 

Carl G. Westerdahl 


Photographer unknown. 

; ! ; ^:; 

» ■ 

Broadway Chapel Sunday School In 1944 


. ■ — * . 

Walter Nelson 

Walter Nelson 
From Henceforth & Hitherto -F/rsf Mission Covenant Church 75th Anniversary. 

Photographer unknown. 

i G**»ra-4 ,^/e.n 


Nearing completion is the_grpadwaj[_p ovenant chapel at Broadway and East G ate jjarkway. The Rev. 
William A. Rettig, pastor of the chapel, stands on the iront step, .tie expects toT^e able~To open the 
chapel within a month. (Register-Republic photo.) 

The "Bengston Homestead" (Note: neon light) 
Farmhouse 1948 Dedication. Photographer unknown 

6rt4c ro 1 


Inside the Farmhouse. 
From church records. No date. Photographer unknown. 



f rU 1 


ICO'Sr > 

wormnr "rolling green 


OF SECTION 32, T. 44 N., R.2E. 


■A/arfh Una o/ Stc/,on 32, T. 4 4 H. /?. <? £. of /he 3rd. P.M. 

AUrnnm/ionl : 




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Sanctuary. 1955 
From church records. Photographer unknown. 


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Sanctuary. People Building Lives in Christ. 
1973 Church Directory. United Church Directories photo. 

■ % ' JJSSW 1 

Photo taken by Wayne Womack Easter Sunday 31 March 2002. 

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(jcicrcu* M h 

Byron Drag-way 
"The Playground of Power" 

Chad Palmer 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 

Chad Palmer 
English 101 NDF1 
April 24, 2002 

Byron Drag-way "The Playground of Power" 

The Byron Drag-way has been up and going for just about fifty years, forty-eight to 
be exact. The facility's first race was held in July of 1964 (Pash, Phil). The Drag-way 
sits on over two hundred acres of land near the Rock River. The value of the land is set 
fairly high also. In 1975 the worth of the property was set at "in the neighborhood of 
$500,000." (Pash, Phil). Owner Ron Leek acquired control of the drag-way in 1969 
when the value was about $300,000. The track started with a stock issue of about 
$200,000 in 1963 (Pash, Phil). 

Before the drag-way came to Byron, there was a lot of farmland. This land was 
purchased by some citizens of Ogle County, and then sold again. This was about the time 
when the drag- way was born and then became property of now owner Ron Leek. 

The drag-way is a lot of different things for many different people. For some it is 
a fun place to meet new people and see great looking cars. At the drag-way there are 
many different types of people with almost the same interests. Most people would say 
that the drag-way is a lot of fun, because of some of the "special races" that they host. 

Some of these "special races" include such days as Import Day and the weekend 
when the National Mustang Association rents out the facility. On Import Day the only 
type of cars that can race are import-style cars, mostly four-cylinder vehicles. In order to 
win this race someone has to get there early, run their car a few times, and after they see 
what their car is capable of you pick a time called their dial in time. The object is for 

Palmer 2 
them to be as consistent as possible with their dial in time. Last year a good friend of the 
author won this race. He had no idea what his car, a 1987 16-valve Volkswagen 
Scirocco, would run until he had gotten to the track. He said it was a huge adrenaline 
rush, racing and winning, that is. 

When the National Mustang Association rents out the track, it is a big deal. It is 
called "Mustang weekend." During this weekend the only cars that can race are 
Mustangs, unless someone is part of the association, then they can participate in 
something other than a Mustang. During this weekend there is also a swap meet type sale 
there, where people can buy new and used parts for their vehicles. There is a car show, 
where people can see some beautiful cars. Last year there were a lot of Mustangs in the 
show, but there were also some big four-wheel drive trucks as well as a few older cars. 
Also held this weekend is a burnout contest. There is anywhere between five and fifteen 
cars in the contest. The object is to do the smokiest burnout, or just spin the tires until 
they blow out. The winner last year was an elderly woman who blew out both rear tires. 

Getting to the drag-way is the easy part. Leaving is not as easy as it seems, because 
of all the fun involved. To get there take IL 251 south to Route 72. Turn east on 72 and 
stay on that, to the bridge that leads into the town of Byron. Go straight through this 
intersection, and about a half a mile up the road on the left is "The Playground of Power." 
Turn left into the entrance, this is where the fees are paid, the fees are anywhere from 
$10-$30. Then park and watch or go participate. 

While at the drag-way one has to try the burgers at the concession stand. Guaranteed 
some of the best burgers one will ever eat. If someone is going for the first time and they 

Palmer 3 
have a somewhat fast car, this writer would say go ahead and participate, its all fun and 
games, and it is a good way to spend a nice summer day. The last time that this writer 
was there he went ahead and raced. His car at the time was a 1 989 Ford Probe, with a 
2.2-liter turbo charged four-cylinder engine. The car was a little faster than he thought it 
would be. Being almost bone stock he ran a 15.6-quarter mile. 

In the early years the drag-way had some financial problems, it seemed as if they 
were not bringing in the money they needed to stay open. In 1987 there was one 
weekend where they had a fund-raiser, to make the money needed. This fund-raiser 
basically turned into a telethon, where people were just calling in pledges left and right. 
The goal was to reach $30,000. Yes, the fund-raising effort by the Friends of Byron 
Drag-way did reach its goal of $30,000 and then some. To be exact $36,210 (Pash, Phil). 

The drag- way still faces problems today. Some of these problems are due to the 
six o'clock curfew given to the drag-way by Ogle County. The six o'clock curfew 
prevents the drag-way from holding any night races, which may also prevent the drag- 
way form holding national and international events. In 1998 the track hours were cut 
from 3 p.m. to 12:15a.m. on Fridays, to no races on Fridays. Saturdays were cut from S 
a.m. to 12:15 a.m. down to 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays stayed at what they are 8 
a.m. to 6:30 p.m. These hour changes resulted in possible income lost, somewhere in the 
area of about $2,000-$3,000 a week. An unnamed citizen loved the new hours (Drag- 
way Hours...), probably because she didn't have to listen to the car engines roaring all 

Palmer 4 

One of the possible solutions to the noise problems that the drag-way has is to 
have an annexation. An annexation is where the drag-way is actually put into the city 
limits and not just Ogle County, with the annexation and the drag- way a part of the city; 
it will be able to hold races up to mid-night again. If an annexation is done, then the 
drag-way will be able to hold national event and such crowd pleasers as the U.S. Hot Rod 
Thunder Nationals (Drag-way Owner Seeks. . .). 

This will also allow some flexibility for days with bad weather. To reduce sound 
by as much as fifty percent, Owner Ron Leek wants to move the track north about 1,000 
feet and build 25-foot wall about 310 feet behind the starting line (Drag-way Owner 

By reducing the sound and extending the hours, the drag-way can bring in much 
more money, as well as publicity to the town of Byron. With people come from 
thousands of miles away just to see a race, they will also want to see what the little town 
has to offer. Such as all the little restaurants and shops. 

As a conclusion, the "Playground or Power" is a great place. The more people 
that come to see what it has to offer the more people will learn to love it. The drag-way 
has many fun factors about it; meeting new people, seeing great looking cars, and tasting 
some magnificent food are just a few great things. Like what was stated in the very 
beginning, the drag-way is fun. 

Picture taken by Rick Kurtz. 

Photograph by Rick Kurt from Rick Kurtz Photography. 

Randy Norris-Norris Racing 

Pictures taken by Jim Hrovet. 

.- ' :; :^.' : :" ■:'",''.;■•/>, ■; '■.,-,.. -,; ' 

Thanks to Greg Rapacz from Quarterflash Racing for the picture. 
Picture was taken in 2001 at the Byron Dragway 

Works Cited 

"'Byron Debates Adding Drag-way." Rockford Register Star. 2-27-02. 

Byron Drag-way "Playground of Power." . 

Cunningham, Rachel. Rockford Register Star. "Drag-way Owner Seeks Annex." 

2-27-02. page 11 A. 
Cunningham, Rachel. Rockford Register Star. "Skeptics Remain on Drag-way's Noise 

Plan." 2-28-02. page 6A. 
"Drag- way Hours Focus of Lawsuit." Rockford Register Star. 4-23-98. page 1A 
Goodman, Doug. Rockford Register Star. "Byron Drag- way Sound Study Goes to City 

Council Tonight." 2-26-02. 
Pash. Phil. Rockford Register Star. "Byron Drag-way Owner Say Offers Made to Buy 

Facility." 7-16-79. 
Pash, Phil. Rockford Register Star. "Telethon Pledges' Save Drag-way." 5-18-87. 

page 1C. 
"Smith Christens Drag-way's Rebirth." Rockford Register Star. 8-15-94. page 3B. 

Th£ Old Syron 

f iriz station & 

City -Mali 

By Brady De Nio 

Date: 14 May 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 NDF1 

The Old Byron Fire Station & City Hall 

By Brady De Nio 

Strolling down a dirt street called North Union 
Street in Byron, Illinois in the year of 1922, one 
would see a new building being erected. This 
building will stand for over 80 years becoming a 
historical site in Byron. This new building will 
house heroes, politicians, criminals, and serve 
Byron for many years to come, showing Byron as a 
village growing into a city. 

Fifty years after it was founded in 1835, the 
Village of Byron decided to purchase a small piece 
of land from Junius Angers and Dorcae Angers for 
the price of one hundred dollars. The land was not 
being used at this time because the owners of it 
lived in Nebraska, so they decided to sell the 
small piece of land to the Village of Byron (Deed 
1885) . Between 18 8 5 and 192 2 a small garage was 

De Nio 2 

built in the same spot where the building stands 
now. "I don't remember what was in it, but I know 
it was there, " said Gynel Orr. This garage would 
soon be torn down for the soon-to-be built city 
hall and fire department. 

Then, in 1922, the City of Byron decided that 
they needed a municipal building to house a city 
hall and fire department. They repurchased the 
land for a price of one thousand dollars and 
started this project (Deed 1922) . The city hall 
and fire station were built to look proud. On the 
front of the building etched in the stone are the 
words "BYRON CITY HALL 1922." This building was 
equipped with two garage doors in front for the 
fire trucks to leave the building, two jail cells 
in the back of the building for holding people on a 
short term, City Hall offices and storage in the 
basement (Construction Plans) . 

The building was the first of its kind in 
Byron, containing the city hall and the fire 
department. Today the new city hall building 
(located two blocks away from the old building) is 

De Nio 3 

a spectacular site and everything is now stored in 
computers. The original city hall lasted nearly 75 
years in the old building, but bigger faster times 
caused it to move to a new building. The fire 
station located in the old building with the old 
city hall had a much quicker fate than the recently 
moved city hall. 

The old fire department was the first fire 
department that Byron ever had. The building was 
equipped with two garage doors for access of the 
fire trucks. In the back of the fire house was two 
jail cells for holding people for a short time. 
Then there was city hall offices and storage in the 
basement for all the files about the city. The 
fire station contained one fire truck at the time 
and volunteer fire fighters (Hogan, Interview) . 
"The fire department wasn't organized, being that 
everyone was a volunteer, and these volunteers were 
not well trained. They just showed up at fires to 
do anything that they could do to help," said Randy 
Hogan. But the building did serve its purpose and 
contributed to the community of Byron. 

De N'io 4 

The first fire truck was built in 1917 and 
still exists today. It is stored in the newest 
fire department in Byron, which is a high tech 
structure compared to the now ancient -looking 
building. The old fire station did not have the 
fast fire trucks that could carry hundreds of tools 
needed for any kind of rescue. The old building 
could not store everything that is in use today 
such as radios, rescue boats, and a practice 
facility for fire fighting (Hamas, Interview) . But 
this building still focused on the same purpose; it 
helped prevent and stop fires. 

They were built to provide a place to help the 
community, which they both still do today. They 
both contained fire trucks and even ambulances 
(Hamas, Interview) . The old fire station started 
an ambulance service in 1970 before the fire 
department moved to a new location (Hogan 
Interview) . 

This ambulance was not nearly as useful as the 
ones today are. The ambulance Byron had was an old 
hearse that had been used by the local undertaker 

De Nio 5 

for years. Prior to 1970 there were no paramedics 
or ambulance service in Byron. The undertaker 
drove out in his hearse to the scene of an accident 
to see if everyone was all right. If the people 
were injured, he took them to the nearest hospital. 
If it was too late to save them he just took them 
back and began preparations for the funeral. This 
was common practice till the late 1960s, when Byron 
started its first ambulance and paramedic services 
(Hogan, Interview) . Kathy Hamas was a nurse's 
assistant in 1972 and she remembers riding in the 
old hearse. 

The hearse was a work of art. It was only 
supposed to hold one person in the back, but we 
would have to fit two or three people in it 
sometimes. And the ride would be treacherous, 
because of the back door not wanting to stay 
closed all the time. We would be flying to the 
hospital and it would swing open scaring not 
only us but also the people riding in the back 
next to it. (Hamas, Interview) 

De Nio 6 

This shows how times are changing. Now the 
ambulance has everything that is needed to help 
people, not like the old days where they would just 
transport the injured persons to the hospital. 
While the ambulance was stored in the building, 
there was a lot of changing going on in the 
building too (Hogan, Interview) . The fire station 
moved out in 1974 leaving the ambulance service 
there and a lot of remodeling took place to prepare 
the building for a new police station (Hamas, 
Interview) . 

The ambulance was stored in the police station 
next to the squad cars. Whenever a fire or 
accident occurred both the fire truck and ambulance 
would meet at the scene, and did what they could to 
help. They did not have any special training like 
paramedics have today. This was before EMT 
(Emergency Technical Training) , so they would do 
their best to keep the person alive while they 
drove them to the hospital . EMT training soon 
became mandatory though, and helped save more 
lives. Soon after EMT training was started the 

De Nio 7 

ambulance service moved to the new fire station as 
a more economical situation (Hogan, Interview) . 
The ambulance service was another city service to 
leave this aging building. 

Not only was the building changing, but the 
town around it was making some changes, too. In 
1985, Byron received a nuclear power plant. This 
power plant brought a lot of business and people to 
Byron. The town started to grow faster and found a 
lot of benefits from having a power plant on its 
land. The taxes it collected from the power plant 
allowed the town to do new things such as build on 
to the school (Williamson D4) . Some of the things 
the town did with the money affected the old 
building, but the history still remained. 

Byron's police station was small but made the 
news on June 14th, 1991, with a visit from a famous 
pop singer/TV star named Donny Osmond. Mr. Osmond 
toured the station while he was heading through the 
small town of Byron. Five police officers on duty 
took a picture with Mr. Osmond in front of the 
Byron police station and city hall building (which 

De Nio 8 

is the old fire station too) and the photo ended up 
in newspapers and magazines across the country 
(Untitled Article) . Now, the building not only had 
Byron's heroes, politicians, criminals, and even 
movie stars have been through the building giving 
it another historical feat. 

Byron's first woman mayor started out her term 
in the old Byron City Hall. Kathy Hamas was an 
alderwoman for Byron for nine years before she was 
elected mayor of Byron on October 1st, 1991 
("Council...", IB) . She is still serving her term as 
mayor all the way through the selling of the 
building and moving into the new city hall. She 
has a lot of history in the building and remembers 
that her mayor's office in the city hall was right 
over the spot where the old ambulance sat that she 
used to ride in (Hamas Interview) . 

All the changes that happened to this building 
were caused by the new power plant moving into 
Byron. The city hall was moved in 2001 to a new 
building with funds from taxing the power plant. 
When the city hall moved, so did the police station 

De Nio 9 

to another building connected to the new massive 
city hall. The fire station also moved again to a 
new site right next to the new city hall and police 
department, bringing all of these businesses that 
were in the building close together again. 

Then a new question arose: what to do with the 
historical abandoned building? People from all the 
local businesses gave their input on what should 
happen to the building. Some wanted to knock it 
down, making it into a parking lot, but two people 
whose histories lie in the building had other 
plans. Randy and Jeff Hogan, two brothers who 
worked for the fire department in that old building 
wanted to buy it. They had a lot of family history 
there, having worked there after their father 
worked there for many years . They purchased the 
building and decided that they wanted to turn it 
into a restaurant and pub (Cunningham) . 

They began renovations and are trying to 
restore as much of the old building to the original 
plans as they can. The red brick building looks 
pretty old and has many scars from being renovated 

De Nio 10 

many times over the years. Slightly different 
color bricks are now present on the outside walls 
where doors, and windows used to be. In the inside 
they tore out the most recent remodeling to let the 
original floor and walls show. They have plans to 
put red garage doors back on the building to make 
it look like the old fire department again. The 
Hogans are planning on opening the restaurant and 
Pub on January 1st 2003 (Hogan Interview) . 

This author is glad to see that the building's 
new beginning is like so many that have come 
before. This writer used to work for a local 
newspaper and have been in the city hall and fire 
station many times to write articles about what was 
happening to the city. This excited writer can't 
wait for the restaurant to open, so he too can eat 
and has a few drinks there with other people whose 
memories are in that historical building in Byron. 

D jo 1 1 

John F. Elbers IIlRockford Register Star 

Randy (left) and Jeff Hogan of Byron hope to transform the old firehouse into a restaurant and bar 
that will feature historic firehouse memorabilia. Both work for the Byron Fire Department and hope to 
open their restaurant by July 1. 

« ., Photo provided 

An artist s rendition of what the Fifth Alarm Firehouse Pub may 
look like when completed. 

DeNio 12 

Photo of the Scars on the side of the old fire 
station. Photo provided by Brady De Nio. 

What the outside looked like on February 26, 2002 
Photo provided by Brady De Nio. 

IX- Nio 13 

Cops and 

■ ! ■• • :>•»'•' ',■■<"": '•.-' '-,'?■-. ■ :■• ■•,•'••• ;.!:m-. <, DAN MOElLER/North«rnOgl«C©«i«^. 

When five members of the Byron Police Department "arrested" Donny Osmond during this photo opportunity in 
little did they know the photo would be published around the country. Osmond, third from right, posed with, fron 
Sgt. Jim Wilcox, Chief Denny Harloman, Officer Paul Remezas, Lt. Hale Guyer and Officer Jim Getzelma 
signed the photo: "To the Byron P. D. Thanks for letting me go. Donny Osmond." A' •> 7 -* > ' ~ */-fV •-." 

DeN'io 14 

Works Cited 

Construction Plans. 1922. Location Byron City 

"Council Selects City's 1 st Woman Mayor." Rockford 

Register Star. lOctober 1991, sec. IB. 
Cunningham, Rachel. "A Family Toast to Firehouse 
Pub." Rockford Register Star. 4 January 

2002, sec. 12A. 
Deed. W.D. Date of transfer 7-1-1885. Vol 80 Page 

Deed. W.D. Date of transfer 9-9-1922. Vol 146 Page 

De Nio, Brady. Photograph, Provided. 
Elbers, John F. Photograph, Rockford Register Star, 

4 Jan 2002 . Sec. 12A 
Hamas, Kathy. Phone Interview. 10 February 2002. 
Hogan, Randy. Personel Interview. 1 February 2002. 
"In The Line of Fire." Byron Fire District News 

Letter and Video. Vol 3 Num 4. Summer/fall 


1998 release. VHS 363.37 INT, Byron Public 

Moeller, Dan. Photograph, Rockford Register Star. 
14 June 1991. Sec. IB. 
"Officials Say Victim Of Fire Was Asleep." 

Rockford Register Star. 24 December 1991, sec. 

Orr, Gynel . Phone Interview. 15 February 2002. 
Sherman, Ardis L. Reflections. 1976. Village of 

Byron, IL. 977.3 She, Byron Public Library. 
Untitled Article. Rockford Register Star 14 June 

1991, sec. IB. 
Williamson, Water. Byron Drawing New Interests. 

Rockford Register Star. 21 April 1991 Sec. 


Byron's Heritage: Soldiers War Monument 

Elizabeth Nace 

Spring Semester 2002 
Rock Valley College 
English 101 

Elizabeth Nace 
English 101- DX 
Mr. Scott Fisher 
14 May 2002 

Byron's Heritage: Soldiers War Monument 

The township of Byron was settled by pioneers near the Rock River Valley, many of 

whom came from New England in the mid 1830's. The pioneers rode horses on dirt roads. 

raised oxen, and plowed the land. These pioneers also had to contend with the Pottawattomie 

Indians who frequently traveled the river which they called "Sin-sepo" or what is now called 

the Rock River . The first thing that impressed people was the scenic beauty of the area. The 

writings of Lord Byron, an English poet, inspired the name for the town. The names of early 

pioneers who settled from 1836-1839 proved to be the founders of the community and 

contributed to the rapid development. The children born in that time frame were the 

participants in the American Civil War and the loss of those children was shared by the 

community. This is what inspired the conception of the Byron Soldiers War Monument ("A 

History..."). The developmental changes and controversies that the memorial was to 

experience would test the admiration that the people of this town would have for this Civil 

War Monument. 

In the small town of Byron, Illinois stands an historical monument that has stood since 

1866. This memorial represents the children that belonged to Jared W. Stanford, Pern Norton, 

and other pioneer settlers of that time. "One of these men was Joseph M. Stanford. 1 fe 

enlisted in the 140 th Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War and died at Memphis, Venn., on Sept. 

6, 1864. It was said that he was the first white child born in the village of Byron" (/"A 

History..."). The community and citizens of Byron wanted to recognize what these men 

Nace - 2 
sacrificed, and created a monument to preserve the memory of the men who volunteered 
to serve in the 140 th , 92 nd Illinois and other branches of the Union Army. The soldiers' whose 
names are engraved onto the historical monument, were once residents of Byron who fought 
in an epic battle miles from home. They committed their lives to a cause and fought in the 
American Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865. 

The Byron Soldiers War Monument was built about one block from what is now the 
center of town on Second Street and Chestnut Street. It stands nineteen feet, six inches tall 
and is three blocks south of the Rock River. When the monument was first built: (See 

I.W. Norton and his committee formed a meeting on September 27. 
1865 in Byron to discuss the possibility of erecting a monument to the 
men who had served in the Civil War. As a result of this meeting, a 
Byron Monument Association was created and it was called The Old 
Settlers Association. The money was raised by subscription by a 
committee to build the memorial that would symbolize, preserve, and 
honor the brave soldiers who succumbed during the War of 
Rebellion. (Elliott, E.S. 26-27) The committee hired Heard & Lindsle) of 
Rochelle, Illinois to construct the monument for $950.00. The 
foundation, fence, and etc. increased the amount of nearly $1 .400. 00. .and 
it was placed in center of the village in the residential area of the crossing 
of Chestnut and Second Streets in Byron. ("Writer Relates...: History of 

Nace -3 
Shortly after the war, Byron citizens were committed to recognizing the sacrifice 
the soldiers gave to their nation, as well as their small town. "The monument was completed 
and dedicated on October 18, 1866 and the address was made by Adj. General Allen C. 
Fuller."("Part of Byron' s...;The Monument 227.") 

It stood twelve feet high surmounted by an eagle, rising for flight, 
made of the same material, six inches tall and is made of Rutland, 
Vermont marble, situated on a stone base, which rests on a grassy 
mound, four feet in height, the whole being surrounded by an [ornate] 
octagonal black iron fence. On the plinth, which is 2 2/3 feet square and 
2 feet 2 inches high, are inscribed in sunken letters, on the northeast side, 
the following: 'In Memory Of The Patriotic Boys of Byron. Who Fell In 
Subduing the Great Rebellion — 1861-1865.' On the southeast side 
appears the members of Co. B 92 nd . On the northwest side appears the 
members of the Co. G.44 th , Co. D. 1 1 th , Co. C, 65 th . and Co. E., 74 th . On 
the southwest side is the coat of arms in carved figures of three inches 
deep. Above the plinth is the die one and three-quarter feet square and 
two and two-thirds feet high its four faces bear the members of Co. E. 
34 th , Co. A., 48 th , Co. I., 15 th I.V.I. (Inscribed Veterans Infantrv)on the 
southwest side. On the northwest side appears the members of Co. F.. 
74 th . On the southeast side appears the members of Co. B.. °O nvi . On the 
northeast side are names of Joseph W. Stanford Co. "iV 140 lh regiment. 
E. Dennis and Lt. Cooling Co. "B" 92 nd , Co. "C" 7 l \ and Co. "IV Stf 1 

Nace - 4 
I.V.I.. The die is surmounted by the octagonal spire on and three quarter 
and five feet ten inches high. ("A History...") (See Appendix-Bl -B2) 
After the Byron Monument Association built and dedicated the Byron Civil War 
Monument, also known as the Byron Soldiers War Monument. The citizens of Byron found 
themselves having to rescue the memorial from natural disasters and man. 

Ten years later "On the night of November 13, 1877, a fire swept through the business 
district and virtually wiped it out" ( "Fire of 1877. ..228"). Fortunately the monument was 
located several blocks away from the fire. Not long after the fire, the citizens of Byron got 
together and placed another plinth onto the monument: 

May, 1 877 another plinth was added of the same material and now stands 
nineteen feet, six inches tall at an added cost of $300.00. This brought 
the overall height to 19 feet 6 inches. Listed on this plinth is Addie 
Parson a female nurse who served during the Civil War. ("Part of 
Byron..."; Reflections 83-84.) 

The plinth was placed on the top=southwest side of the monument. 
Originally the monument had stood 12 feet in height with an eagle 
poised on the top, but now it stands nineteen feet, six inches high, and 
costed an additional three hundred dollars to have this plinth[column] 
added onto the existing monument. ("Byron Soldiers* Monument...") 
Jim Jennings, Executive Director of the Byron Museum said. "At the time when the 
names were placed on the plinth, more Civil War soldiers in other regiments were added to 
the monument as an afterthought to the Civil War veterans list, and among that list was Addie 

Nace - 5 
Parson, a nurse who chose to serve alongside with her brothers, but unlike Addie there were 
some women who impersonated being male to help fight in the Civil War"(Jenningsj. 

Further improvements were made to the monument, and the township of Byron eventual ly 
included more "active" historical pieces to the memorial: 

In the early part of 1897, the idea was suggested that a couple of cannons 
would make a fitting guard for the shaft. The matter was taken in hand 
by Camp of Sons of Veterans, who work hard succeeding in raising 
funds to procure the abandoned guns and have them mounted, on August 
19, the dedication of these additional monuments to the soldier dead was 
carried out with imposing ceremonies. The cannon are thirty pound rifle 
guns. They are twelve feet long and they weigh four thousand pounds 
each. They were mounted on wooden carriages, but somewhere between 
1897-1898 they were changed over to metal. The cannons are located on 
the north and south side of the monument, just inside the [black] iron 
fence pointing east. The cannons came from the United States Arsenal at 
Governors Island, New York Harbor. ("Part of Byron...": "The 
Monument.")(See Appendix-C) 
When visiting the historical monument, one feels the sensation of the past by just 
standing near the cannons, which seems to capture a time when soldiers wore the wool 
uniforms in the hot summer months. The air is cut by the glint of a sword, and the big 
cannons must have sounded like a cacophony of explosions being tired at the enem\ . The 
feelings these men must have experienced running across a battlefield with rifles trained on 

Nace - 6 
them, the screams of anguish with bloodshed everywhere, presents a vision of what those 
men were going through during the Civil War. Listed on both of the cannons is an inscription 
that reads 'Presented To The Town Of Byron By Albert WoodCock Camp No. 45. Sons Of 
Veterans. Aug. 19*th 1897.' (Nace) (See Appendix-D) 

Shortly after the cannons were added, Byron was confronted again by two disastrous 
moments, one occurring to the monument and the other a conflagration to the small town: 
In 1899, the monument was struck by an electrical and wind storm. 
According to Dent Noyes, he claims upon checking with Ray Hewitt of 
Byron, who confirmed the date via his family bible entry, his grandfather 
Jeff Hewitt was buried on Memorial Day of 1 899. Authentically then it 
was that year in 1 899 when the unusual Memorial Day ceremonies 
around the monument during which many children were present, had just 
ended and the crowd dispersed, that the storm broke. Not only was the 
marble shaft blown off and shattered, but the eagle was 'maimed' and 
almost destroyed. It was deemed not feasible to replace the eagle when 
repairs were made to the monument. ("Part of Byron's...") 
(See Appendix-E) 
Also occurring that year to the town and people of Byron was another devastating fire. 
"On June of 1 899, Byron again was visited by a great fire. The fire started on the east side of 
Union street and quickly spread to adjacent buildings and consumed even thing on the quarter 
block. There was no adequate water supply to contain the fire" ("A History of..."). 
Fortunately, the monument escaped the potential affects of this unfortunate fire. 

Nace - 7 
The town settled into a calm period, until 1917 when dark clouds filled the sky and an 
unstable atmosphere brought wind, provoking a roaring sound to the heart of Byron. A storm 
was brewing bringing along a tornado in its wake that headed straight for the monument. 
"The monument was struck a second time blowing off the shaft and destroying the ['maimed"] 
eagle. The bird of freedom that sat atop of the monument could not be restored" ("Byron 
Residents...; U.S. Dept..."). 

The Byron Soldiers War Monument had passed through its worst natural challenges. 
Now the focus was directed towards the renovation of the memorial. The monument received 
special attention and scrutiny from the people of Byron: 

In 1964 compliments of the Byron Women's Club, Mrs. Wilber Cooper, 
president of the club realized its deteriorating condition, and raised funds 
by subscription, [just as they did in 1865], to restore the monument back 
to its original condition. The renovation to the monument were assigned 
over to the Grip Construction Company of Rockford. They were 
assigned the task of placing an entirely sturdy new. four graduated 
cement base, designed to last for another hundred years. At a total cost 
of $2,260.76, repairs were completed in 1965. with the exception of the 
rusted fence, [funds were later raised to accommodate the additional 
project.]. After this project was completed, the citizens decided to 
commemorate the first one hundred years of the Byron Soldiers* 

Monument. The service would honor all veterans on Memorial Day 1 967. 
For many years, during such a service either John or Clyde Gill would 
read the names of the fallen dead which were inscribed in the plinth. 
("Part of Byron's...") 
Mrs Jeter, an historian at the Byron Library, recalls attending the service with her 
parents at a very young age and remembers listening to one of the Gills read the names of the 
men listed on the monument. She said, upon the Gills reading the names of the fallen to the 
citizens of Byron every year on Memorial Day, the residents would gather around the 
monument and be in captivated by the way John or Clyde poignantly read each name out 
loud. Mrs. Jeter also commented that nowadays the names engraved on the monument are no 
longer read, and that is the one thing that is truly missed (Jeter). 

When viewing the names inscribed on the plinths, one can only wonder why the citizens 
of Byron have not taken the time to restore the names, so that they are readable, therefore 
someone in town may take the initiative on Memorial Day reading off the names of the 
veterans who served in the war (Nace). 

Meanwhile, in 1976, the monument was on the minds of two men from Byron. The men 
wanted to reclaim a part of the monument's history, by bringing the eagle back: 

Perhaps because they fought for what it represents, two WWII veterans. 
Gene Sabin and Kenneth Gene 'Hud' Grouker. have launched their own 
Bicentennial project to replace the eagle that once graced the top of the 
Soldiers Monument. The 'bird of freedom' that original!) sat atop the 
monument was toppled twice during the storms. When it fell the second 

Nace -9 
time, it was severely damaged that it could not be replaced. ("Byron 

Both men were passionate about replacing the eagle that they came up with a project 
called 'CHROME' which stood for Committee To Help Our Monuments Eagle. "The new 
eagle that Sabin and Grouker envision on top of the monument would be made of brass, 
approximately twenty inches high" ("Byron Residents..."). A monument firm in Rockford 
was reserved to build the brass eagle at an estimated cost of $600 to $ 1 ,000. All the money 
received for this eagle would all be collected by donation ("Byron Residents..."). 

Unfortunately, the project was a failure, Mrs Jeter recalls, Sabin and Grouker could not 
come up with enough funds, so the bird of freedom was never to grace the top of the 
monument again. The funds given to project 'Chrome' were given back to the people 
who donated to the eagle. (Jeter). 

In 1984, another spark was about to light the town of Byron on the concerns of 
disturbing the established site of the monument: 

Town Historian Ardis Sherman believes a little bit of Byron's soul is tied 
to the Soldiers' Monument, and would hate to see its memorv disturbed. 
Sherman 84, still recalls faces belonging to names etched in the 19-foot 
marble tribute to local veterans. And it the 1 1 8-year old monument is 
moved to a nearby park as city officials propose, she fears much of its 
heritage will be lost. ("Relocation of Monument...") 
The Byron Soldiers War Monument is considered Illinois oldest Civil War memorial and 
has survived tornados, vandalism, and damage by drunken motorists. Mrs Donald Gat/ of 




- ' - 






Nace - 1 
Byron said, she has seen the monument hit twice. Mayor Lyle Blanchard, Chairman 
Herb Johnson of the Byron City Park Committee and others hoped to avoid such incidents by 
relocating the monument to B.J. Way Memorial Park near the junction of Illinois 2 and 72. 
Mr. Blanchard indicated the new location would be safer and allow more visitors to view the 
memorial. But many Byron residents agree with Ardis Sherman, contending the monument 
occupies consecrated ground. The Byron Women's Club presented the City Council a 
petition with 89 signatures opposing the relocation of the memorial. The document 
questioned the suitability of the location and the threat of future over-crowding. Club 
spokeswomen Helen Debnam says many see the significance of the original site and wonder 
if the monument could withstand the move. There was no final decision made on the 
monument pending a study to determine if the move could be done safely ("Relocation of 

However, Helen Debnam recalls Herb Johnson being quite difficult about the monument 
placed in the center of the intersection and he tried whole heartedly to have it moved to the 
cemetery where the veterans were buried but did not succeed (Debnam). 

After the debate on relocating the monument, it would not be long until the monument 
became a part of the National Register of Historic Places. There would be no threat of the 
monument ever being moved after being listed on a historical site: 

On December 7, [1984] Byronite Helen Debnam and Stillman Yalle> 
historian Amour Van Briessen traveled to Springfield where Debnam 
appeared before the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council. 
Debnam had to prove to the council that the monument was "invested with 

Nace -1 1 
age, tradition, and symbolic value" ("Civil War Monument.. ."). 

Debnam contacted the federal agency after waiting for two months to see whether or not 
it would be accepted or denied. The Advisory Council acknowledged Byron's Monument as a 
historical site. "The symbolic value was proved by the monument appearing on the Byron 
flag, City and Chamber of Commerce stationary, game board, and Bicentennial 
commemorative plate"(Civil War Monument..."). She proved to the Council the symbolism 
behind the monument, which fastened the Byron Soldiers War Monument on the National 
Register of Historical Sites on February 14, 1985. Debnam was also informed that Byron's 
monument was the second oldest. According to the 1905 Blue Book of Illinois the monument 
listed as the first is located in Centralia, constructed one year earlier than Byron's memorial 
("Civil War Monument..."). Furthermore, "Byron's monument and monuments in Peoria. 
Bunker Hill were constructed in 1866. Peoria's was destroyed when citizens tried to move it 
to a cemetery. All four monuments have shafts and eagles on them "("Civil War 
Monument..."). It was a joyous moment for the town of Byron, who wanted to see their 
Soldiers War Monument as part of a National Historical Monument by not disturbing its 
resting place. 

The historical monument is listed as the second oldest in Byron, but some residents 
might see it differently. "According to Fred W. Becker of Byron he stated, that it is the first 
oldest memorial standing here today not just in the State of Illinois, but in the United States" 
("Writer Relates..."). 

Helen Debnam recalls that the reason the Byron Soldiers War Monument was realh 
placed on the National Register was because it does stand alone in the center of the 








Nace - 1 2 
intersection and its symbolic value. She also mentioned that the early settlers from New 
England settled in what is now the town of Byron and it was common to place a monument in 
the middle of a town (Debnam). 

Upon meeting with Helen Debnam at her mothers home. Helen allowed a photograph 
taken of the commemorative plate of Byron. The house had an historical feel to it by viewing 
the memorabilia of other commemorative plates of the Civil War. (Commemorative 
Plate... ).(See Appendix-F) 

The Byron Soldiers War Monument has stood for the past one hundred and fifty years 
and if it were not for the children of the pioneer settlers back in 1835 the monument would 
not exist her today. Andrew Jackson once said, "Every good citizen makes his country's 
honor his own and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life 
in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it" (Great Quotes From 
Great Leaders 78). Let us not forget what this monument represents and what this memorial 
has gone through to protect and honor the soldiers of war. The men and women of Byron will 
keep this monument from becoming just a thing of the past. 


A. The Byron's Soldiers War Monument. Photographed by Scott Fisher. March 2002. 
Bl. Dedication Of The Monument 1866. Photograph Unknown. Byron Library Vertical File. 
B2. List of the Names Inscribed Onto the Soldiers War Monument. Byron Museum Archives 
No Date. 

C. Cannons Were Added To The Soldiers War Monument. The History of Ogle County, 

Illinois. 1878. 

D. Byron Civil War Monument Cannons. Photo by Scott Fisher. March 2002. 

E. Struck by Lightning- Storm and Tornado hit Byron Memorial on Memorial Day 1 899. 
Unknown Photographer; Another View After the Storm Memorial Day 1 899. 

F. Byron Soldiers War Monument Commemorative Plate; Stillman Valley War Memorial Plate 
Photographed by Author. 25 March 2002. 

G. Comparison of The Two Historical Monuments. Byron Soldiers War Monument and 
Stillman Valley War Monument in Ogle County. 

H. Additional Photos. View of Entire Monument. Comparison of Byron Soldiers War 
Monument and Stillman Valley's War Monument. (Not cited within Text). 

The Byron's Soldiers War Monument. Photographer: Scott Fisher 
Monument with Cannons Pointing East On Second Street. 

Nace - 1 

Monument with A View From the 
West Side of Second Street. 

Dedication Of The Monument-October 1866. 

Dedication of Monument-October 1866 


List of Names Inscribed Onto the Byron Soldier's Monument 
Byron, Illinois. Byron Museum Archives. 1-4 pages. 


Byron Soldier's Monument 
Byron, Illinois 

Top = South West Side 

Oapt. Hollis 3. 




54 111 

. Inf 

Died Nov 

Marcus Bennett 

Go. S 

54 111 

. Inf 

J.G. Doughty 

Go. S 

54 111 

. Inf 

Ghas . Brainard 

Go. S 

54 111 

. Inf 

S.R. Kosier 

Go. A 

45 111 

. Inf 

D.G. Wray 

Go. I 

15 HI 

. Inf 

6 1865 

Top Center = South West Side 





Jas. Weller 



8 111. Cav 

E.R. Babcock 

Go. S 

52 111. 

C. Hall 

R. Temple 

Co. B 

7 Penn 

D.H. Campbell 





W.F. Artz 

Co. B 

92 111. • 

R . Cheney 

^B. Whitney 

Alva Rood 

F.B. Scott 

Co. A 

2 111. Cav 

Geo. Bradshav 





... Joseph Blount 


25 111. 

B . LaGrange 

Eldad F. George 

H. Mix 





Wm. J. Hawthorn 

Co. A 

54 111. 

v^T. Brassel 





), f J .C . Webb 

Co. L 

8 111. Cav 

R.A. Sanderson 

~B.H. Cartwright 

Chap . 

92 111. 

G. Shibley. 

H.O. Austin 

Co. G 

74 111. • 

*- H . Deaver 

J. Oatnaugh 

Co. 4 

75 HI- 

J.M. Titus 





G.W. Drake 

Co.. H 

144 NY 

^ Addie Parsons 



W.T. Dodds 

Co. G 

17 111. 

J.H. Ooolbaugh 





M.A. Jones 

Co. F 

120 NY 

—^Geo. Walters 





P. Kelley 

Co. I 

140 111. 

^A.W. Spoor 

J.W. Mitchell 

Co. K 

51 NJ 

Wm. H. DeForrest 

A. McGreger 

Co. S 

5 Ind Cav 

A. Stearns 

Co. D 

11 111. 

Base = South West Side 



R.B. Hart 





C. Barnes 





A . Lane 





J.H. Underwood 





E. Garlock 





E.E. Killgore 





Top - North West Sid© 

Lieut O.N. Woods 
Aug 12 1865 
-* Newell Kimball 
Levi Wheeler 
Wm. A. Robinson 
R.B. Lawrence 
Geo. W. Fisher 
Members of Co. F 74 111. Inft 

Center Top = North West Side 

Levi Crawford 

Co. G hh ill 

. Inft 


Stephen Kingsley 

Co. D 11 111 

. Inft 

Neman Coleson 

Co. 44 111 

. Inft 

Zachary Lake 

Co. C 65 111 

. Inft 


Perry Wilde 


Co. E 74 HI 

. Inft 

ter - North West 


H.W. Wilder 



34 111. 

T.H. Rodger s 

Co. L 




M. Nugent 



34 ill 

J. Jordan 

Co. L 




F. Snyder 


37 111 

M.G. Hascall 

Co. L 




S . Strang 



37 111 

W.A. Michael 

Co. L 




H . Lemke 



34 111 

1 / 

3.G. Douglas 

Co. L 




S. Svans 



44 ill 


T.B. Gill 

Co. M 




L.C. Bixby 



45 111 

J.B. Gill 

Co. M 




P. Col son 



65 111 

G.B. Soudder 

Co. N 



T . Brackett 



67 111. 

Geo. Ryder 




L. Burnes 



67 111. 

J. Bradley - 

' ■ ■, 1 

.: <■■ 


C. Ooolbaugh 



67 111. 

J, Freesman 

E. Chamberlain 



67 111. 

J. Boop 

E.T. Ritchie 



72 111. 

A.W. Grove r 

O.R. Bradshaw 



74 111. 

C.F. Riper 

J.S. Baker 



74 111. 

F.M. Oanfield 

H .3 . Strang 



74 111. 

L. Olson 

^ M.A. Swan 



140 111. 

0. Shjtmaker (Shumaker) 

D. Gitchell 



l4o 111. 

R.A. McNames 

G.W. Case 



i4o 111. 

War of 


A.M. Hetrick 



l4o 111. 

J. Bull 



0. Lewis 



2 111. Cav 

A. Netroy — 



D.J. Wells 



2 111. 



I. Norton — 


N. Gast< 



North West Side 

E.T. Ritchie Co. H 
John Hogan Co . I 

72 111. 

95 Hi. U.S.N. 


:^ K 


Top = North East Side 



W. Sanford Oo . 

Daniel Vanstow Oo. B 

R.V. Jones Co. G 

Frances Herron Co. S 

EphT. AIS RI3 Co. P 

Lieut H.C. Cooling Co. B 

Top Center = North Bast Side 

In Memory Of The 
Patriotic Boys 
Of Byron Who Fell 
In Subduing The 
Great Rebellion 
1861. - 1865. 

Center = North Sast Side 

140 111 
12 111 

lnf>)^ ' 







C / 


r r 

Co. B 92 111. 

J.F. Spalding 

D.W. Spalding 

E.W. Swan 

A.H. Smith 


I.W. Woodcock 


W.W. White 

J.S. Thomas 



77 Fen 

S.D. Trumbull 



16 Wi 

H. VanVleclc 



148 NY 

J. Wagner 



lb 111. 

J. Hastings 



54 111. 

M.S. Huston 



4 111. Cav 

R. Christopher 



15 us 

B. Bird 



208 Pa Vol 

H . Stone 

J.N. Kline 



20 Penn 

L.C. Spoor 



7 111. 

T.L. Johnson 



7 111. 

J. Mosaic 



11 111. 

F. Eaton 



15 111. 

W.R. Breen 


15 111. 

J.W. Campbell 



15 111. 

W. Hallock 



15 111. 

J. Lowden 



15 111. 

C.C. Miller 



15 111. 

D.C. Wray 



15 111. 

C .H . Loveland 



54 111. 

O.G. Bennett 



54 111. 

N. Gaston 



54 111. 

E.T. Turner 



54 111. 

O.B. Youngs 



54 111. 

.H . Broyword 



54 111. 

D.H. Dawson 



54 111. 

J. Newton 



54 111. 

Base - North East Side 

S.B. Shuart Oo. H 
W. Van Valzah Co. I 
F. McCutcheon Co. K 

15 111. 
98 Penn 
17 Penn Cav 

W.S. Simpson 
T.B. Moore 
R.C. Lewis 
T. Bickford 

Co. M 17 111. Car 
Co. A 12 111. Car 

NOTE: Item in RED needs to be reverified. 

Top = South Sast Side 

Killed 5 Oct 1864 

v^Wm. P. Campbell 

A. P. Williams 
^B.R. Rice 
c Ben j . Hetrick 
Wohn Hetrick 
w Dimmit McSherry 
John Downs 
G.J. A. O'Oonner 

Members of Co. B 92 111. Inf 
Top Center = South Bast Side 

Sdwin M. Elliott 

»- J.C. Norton ^ I lU ,, , i, 
- Wm. Cattanach ■•' 

- M.D. Swan 

- F . Monroe Ayers 

Members of Co. G 92 111. Inf 
Center =» South East Side 

Co. B 52 Vol 
W.W. Dennis 
S.H. Mix 
G. Ames* 
G.W. Miller 
W.M. Doughty 
CM. Dwight 
J.M. Norton 
R.B. Lockwood 
P.J. Guthrie 
E. Barrack 
J.W. Carpenter 
E.W. Cowan 
A.A. Cooling 
M. Crowley 
J. A. Douglas 
J.C. Ell 
J . Gaston 

Base = South East Side 

Blank =» No names listed 


M . 

('. . > t. ■ 




. t. t 








, Gorman 






Hunt - ' 








• B . 






. McCloskey 























. Rood 


. Smith 


I I 

c± &C, 


Photo- Cannons Were Added To The Soldiers War 
Memorial in 1897. 

Cannon were added to the soldiers memorial monument in 1897. 


Photo- Byron Soldiers War Monument Cannons. By Scott Fisher. March 2002. 

Cannon Facing On The SoaVh Side 
Of The Monument 


STRUCK BY LIGHTNING— Storm and Tornado Hit Byron Memorial on 

Memorial Day 1899. 

I STRUCK BY LIGHTNING^-A severe storm Kit Byron Memorial day 1899, anif a^ott of lights. 

Another View After The Storm- Memorial Day 1899. 


| ANOTHER VIEW AFTER THE STORM— The Memorial day storm of Fs99 finLshe<f7he eacle 
atop the Byron Soldiers' Monument But the shaft was replaced and except for maintenance pro- 
i jecta the memorial haa remained principally the same:^ t- , •> • \-» \> ■%.-*' 


Commemorative Plate of the Byron Civil War Monument. 
Photographer by Author-Elizabeth Nace. 22 April 2002. 


Commemorative Plate of the Stillman Valley War Monument. Stillman Valley, Illinois. 
Photographed by Author. 22 April 2002. 


Additional Photos of Civil War Monuments. 

(Not Cited in Text) Photographed by Author. 25 April 2002. 

Comparison of the Two Historical Civil War Monuments.. 

Byron Soldiers War Monument. 
War of 1812-Civil War 1866- American Spanish War of 1899. 

Stillman Valley's War 
Monument. Stillmans Run 
May 14,1832. 
Stillman Valley, Illinois 


Additional Photos. View of Entire Monument. 
Photographed by Author. 25 April 2002. 
(Not Cited in Text). 

Comparison of the Byron Civil War Monument and Stillman Valley's War Monument. 

Byron Civil War 
Byron, Illinois 

4 *&* ■■■• 

Hc*«r ln'19 

Stillman Valley's 
War Monument. 


Nace - 1 2 
Works Cited 

Anderson, Peggy. Successories: Great Quotes from Great Leaders. Career Press: Franklin 

Lakes, New Jersey. 1997. 
Another View After The Storm-Memorial Day 1 899. Photographer Unknown. Byron Tribune. 

October 13, 1966. Vol. 33, No. 2. From Byron Library Vertical File. 
"Byron Soldiers Monument Marks First Century." Byron Tribune. No Date. 
Byron Soldiers War Monument Cannons. Photographed by Scott Fisher. March 2002. 
Cannons Were Added To The Soldiers Memorial In 1987. Soldiers Monument, Byron, 

Illinois. Photographer Unknown. Byron Library Vertical File. 
Caruso, James J., Director of community Development. "Neighborhood Development 

Division." Listed Under-Buy It Fix It Program. Community Development Department. 

10 April 2002. 2-21. Online Data Base. Yahoo, 
"Civil War Memorials." Historic Illinois. August 1985. Vol. 8. No. 2. 
The Civil War And the Soldiers Monument. A History of Byron. Byron Museum Archives. 

No Date. 
Clift, Ed., Executive Director Byron Forest Preserve. Interview. 9 April 2002. 
Collinge, John. "Relocation of Monument Ignites Debate In Byron/' Rockford Register Star. 

April 19, 1984. 
Commemorative Plate of the Byron Civil War Monument. Photo by Elizabeth Nace. 22 

April 2002. 
Debnam, Helen. Telephone Interview. 22 April 2002. 

Nace - 1 3 
Dedication of Monument. October 1866. Photographer Unknown. From Byron Library Vertical 

Elliott, E. S. "Byron, Three Quarters of A Century." Three Quarter Byron, Of A Century. 

"Fire of 1 877." The 1878 Ogle County Book. No date. Byron Library Vertical File. 
Fisher, Scott. Photograph: Byron's Soldier War Monument from Byron, Illinois on Chestnut 

and Second Street. March 2002. 
Fox, Cynthia G. "Income Tax Records of the Civil War Years." Prologue: Journal of the 

National Archives and Records Administration. Winter 1986. Vol. 18, no. 4. 22 March 

2002. <> 
Jennings, Jim, Executive Director Byron Museum. Personal Interview. 23 March 2002. 
Jeter, Nelleni, Historian Byron Library. Personal Interview. 20 March 2002. 
List of the Names Inscribed Onto the Byron Soldiers War Monument. Byron, Illinois. Byron 

Museum Archives. 
Meier, Michael T. "Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments.*' Prologue: Journal 

of the National Archives and Records Administration. Winter 1994. Vol. 26. no. 4. 22 

March 2002. <> 
Moats, Diane. "Byron Residents Want Eagle Back." Rockford Register Star. September 15, 

"The Monument." The 1878 Ogle County Book. Byron Library Vertical File. No Date. 228- 

Nace, Elizabeth. Interview. 28 January 2002. 


Nace - 14 
Paquet, Mary. "Civil War Monument On National Register." Tempo. April 3, 1985. 7. 
"Part of Byron's Proud Heritage." Byron Tribune . October 13, 1966. 
Sherman, Ardis L. "Monument and Markers; The Soldiers War Monument." Reflections. 1976. 

Byron Library. 
Soldiers Monument, Byron, Illinois. 1910. Photographer Unknown. Byron Library 

Vertical File. 
Struck By Lightning. 1899. Photographer Unknown. Byron Tribune. October 13, 1966: Vol.33. 

No. 2. From Byron Library Vertical File. 
Thompson, Anne B. and Dr. Stewart C. "A History of Byron Township." Souvenir Booklet 

Bvron Centennial 1835-1935. No Date. 
"U.S. Department of Conservation." Letter to Helen Debnam. March 25, 1985. Byron 

Museum Archives. 
"Writer Relates History of Byron Civil War Monument From 1878 Ogle Book." 

Bvron Tribune. October 7, 1965. 

The Capitol Theater's play about Rockford, IL. 

Patricio Rodriguez Rucoba 

12 may 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 

Rucoba 1 

"The first immigrants to live on the South Side of Rockford were the Italians, 
then the Polish, followed by the Swedish. . . and that was the trans," (Campos) all the way 
to the mid 1980s, when Mexican Immigrants started to make the South Side their home. 
People came in during '40s and '30s, planted roots and then moved on to better parts of 
town, because they became wealthier and more educated. There were also more first and 
second generation Italians, Swedish and so on. "We still have a lot of Immigrants within 
the Latino community," said Campos. He thinks Chicanos will follow the same trance, 
once they get into the second and third generation. "Thanks to my parents, I have a better 
life than they did, and if my son does what he is supposed to do, he will tend to make 
more money than me and even move on to the next [socioeconomic] levels of society" 

Living in the South Side of Rockford during the first half of the 20 th century: the 
neighborhood theaters, grocery stores, schools, barbershops, churches, social clubs, a 
library.... was a life-enriching experience (Segneri). In the late 1920s an atmosphere 
theatre was born: The Capitol Theatre. Rusty and worn out, it looks down on its 
temporary caregivers with affection on its permanent residency at 1 122 S. Main St., just 
20 minutes and seven miles away from the intersection of 1-90 and E. Riverside, in 
Rockford, Illinois. 

During the early 1900s,Theodore Ingrassia grew up in Rockford surrounded by an 
immigrant business environment on the predominantly Italian south side. Later, as an 
adult, he successfully ventured into the liquor business. His success allowed him to 
travel the world and immerse himself in various cultures. Although he visited many 
different countries, the hospitality and warmth of the Spanish people had the most 

Rucoba 2 

profound effect on him. The Spaniards' entertainment industry proved to be the one 
aspect of their society he came to cherish the most. "All Things are created twice. There 
is a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things"(Covey). The 
mental and physical creation of the Capitol Theatre brought about unprecedented social 

As people in a small Jewish neighborhood went about their lives on the 1 100 
block of South Main Street, Theodore Ingrassia traveled to Spain. The Jewish 
neighborhood was housed where the Capitol Theatre still stands today; "They did not 
work on the Sabbath and, on this day, hired someone else to come and do the chores for 
them," recalled Therese Schmeltzer. 

Some time after his trips to Spain, Theodore Ingrassia, by then a successful 
businessman, acquired the Jewish neighborhood and, in partnership with Anthony 
Domino, entered the entertainment industry with a magnificent Spanish-Style Baroque 
Theater (Schmeltzer). Ingrassia and Domino were the cooperative owners while Albin 
Anderson was designated as managing director, assisting in the management of the 
Capitol Theatre (Rockfordiana Files). "For Domino and Ingrassia, it was a very promising 
investment in 1928" (Segneri and Loreto). The nation's strong economic growth and 
stock market were proof of it. 

Ingrassia and Domino proudly announced through the local newspaper, that 
"The... Capitol Theater... [would] open December 15[1927]" (capitol Movie Theater to Be 
Opened December 15). But for an unknown reason, they never opened that day and. 
Subsequently, in a time of national economic expansion when the use of automobiles had 
recently outnumbered telephones in use in the United States ("Capitol Draws Huge 


Rucoba 3 

Crowds at Opening Shows"). On January 16, 1928, C.B. Anderson and Jngrassia re- 
announced in the Morning Star that the Capitol Theater would open on February 4, 1928. 
But Domino's wife opposed the business venture, "My mother pleaded my father 
not to invest our money," recalled Mary Jo Domino Pritz, daughter of Anthony Domino 
(Segneri and Loreto). 

Nevertheless, with the introduction of combined Vaudeville and motion picture 
features, on February 4, 1928 the second creation was completed and the SI 75,000 
Capitol Theater was born at 1 120-1 126 South Main Street, fronting 99.5 feet along Main 
Street with a depth of 157 feet. The theater was built with a Spanish Baroque 
architectural style, for commercial use with upstairs apartments (Rockfordiana Files). 

The Capitol Theater housed four apartments and three offices on the second floor 
and four retail stores on the ground floor (Rockfordiana Files). Swords Brothers installed 
the plumbing, while American Heating and Supply Company installed the heating 
fixtures ("Capitol Theater in South Main to Open February 4"). Rockford Electric Co. 
serviced the Capitol Theatre. Holmquist & Peterson Co. was the general contractor for 
the theatre (Rockfordiana Files). David Carlson Roofing Company installed the roof, and 
National Mirror Works furnished and installed all the glass and copper storefronts. 
Haddrorff Music House manufactured the theatre's piano ("Capitol Theater in South Main 
to Open February 4"). 

A large electric sign was placed in the front of the theatre ("Capitol Theater in 
South Main to Open February 4"). "The building is of fireproof construction with the most 
effective type of modern ventilation and a cooling system which will be installed nc\i 
spring," said the announcement on the Rockford Morning Star, on January 17, 1928. 


Rucoba 4 

Laundry and drying space were provided on the roof of the building. The four stores [on 
the ground floor] had copper fronts, were spacious and well lighted ("Capitol Theater in 
South Main to Open February 4"). Five "modern" dressing rooms were provided adjacent to 
the stage for visiting Vaudeville artists and special performers, whom would be billed to 
Rockford regularly from a nationally known agency, according to the Morning Star on 
January 27, 1928 ("Capitol Theater in South Main to Open February 4"). The street facade of 
the building On top of the front entrance was a striking was constructed of buff brick with 
blue molted terra cotta trim, ("Capitol Theater in South Main to Open February 4"); and 
arches adorned the center windows and wrought iron balconets at some upper story 
windows (Rockford Historic Preservation Commission). 

Part of the space of the main entrance was devoted to decorations symbolic of the 
theatrical world: four face medallions at top of the center portion made of terra cotta. But 
just who are those historical figures? The information compiled by Michael G. Segneri 
and Loreto L. Gulino shows they are: William Shakespeare, Giuseppe Verdi, Enrico 
Caruso and Anton G, Rubinstein. On the other hand, as Rockford Register Star Is stated 
on the article "Readers Respond: Here are some things they miss," Friday, January 12, 
2002, they are William Shakespeare, Johann Sebastian Bach, Calvin Coolidge, and an 
opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi. Moreover, while Rockford' s City Hall contends that 
they are Bach, Verdi, Shakespeare and Calvin Coolidge. 

"Today, another Rockford showplace will swing open its doors for public 
opinion" the Morning Star reported. Admission for the day was 35 cents for adults and 
10 cents for children (Segneri and Loreto). At 1 :30 PM that afternoon (Rockfordiana Files) 
of February 4, 1928, the giant organ swelled the house as the single reel clicked at 125 

Rucoba 5 

revolutions per minute, blinking the beam of light, showing silent films on the screen 
(Segneri and Loreto). "On the bill that afternoon were vaudevillian acts including 
comedian, Lawrence Richard; Blackface wit Al Lubin; and dancing girls performing a 
"Spanish Fantasy" (Segneri and Loreto). The silent Film, Sky Raider featured Captain 
Nungesser, the WWI French flying ace, a war hero decorated by grateful nations for his 
stupendous exploits as an air fighter, rounded out the afternoon and evening 
entertainment. "A pleasing show with five acts of vaudeville and a feature picture, the 
Sky Raider, pleased the patrons at the opening." The Morning Star asserted, on Tuesday, 
February 5, 1928. "More than 4,000 thronged the Capitol Theater on Saturday 4, 1928. 
The new theater was filled for both afternoon performances and again twice last night 
while many persons were turned away" proclaimed the Morning Star. 

The atmospheric theater used the latest overhead scenic effects to carry out the 
idea of gently drifting clouds under a blue sky dotted with stars ("Capitol Theater in South 
Main to Open February 4"). With seating capacity of 1000 the auditorium represented an 
outdoor Spanish garden; art treasures, beautiful sculptures and rare paintings enhanced 
the beautiful interior of the new Capitol Theater (Rockfordiana Files). Richly colored 
Spanish draperies graced the walls of the auditorium with mural paintings in harmony. 

W. J. Van Der Meer, the theater's architect and designer, proclaimed it to be "one 
of the most beautiful structures of the Middle West" ("Capitol Movie Theater to Be Opened 
December 15"). And received congratulations throughout opening day for the magnificent 
job creation of the elaborate interior design and decoration ("Capitol Draws Huge Crowds at 
Opening Shows"). The innovation of the Capitol Theater shone as "A triumph m 
architecture, and a monument to engineering," conveyed the Star. Following the last 

Rucoba 6 

performance, the management of the Capitol sponsored an "informal" party at the Roma 
Inn, for businessmen, theatre persons and reporters ("Capitol Draws Huge Crowds at 
Opening Shows"). 

The next morning, on Sunday, February 5, 1928, all Rockford praised the Capitol; 
local businesses eulogized the theater: 

Best wishes. . .Capitol Theater. The Ingrassia Grocer, located on 1128 S. Main, 

congratulated the capitol theater (Rockfordiana Files). 

And in unison the Rockford Electric Co made the condemning praise: 

Congratulations Capitol Theater, and the rapidly growing business district 
on South Main Street. Just two thoughts friends: When you marvel at the 
marvelous electrical effects of this fine new theater, consider the part 
electricity plays in modern life — it's a vital indispensable part of 
civilization. . . [And] to the owners of the Capitol Theater: you will be 
successful. We compliment you on the beauty of your theater and are 
proud of your work because you have demonstrated the faith in Rockford 
that is so important if this city is to forge ahead. Best wishes. . ."(Segneri). 
Unwary that in October of the following year, the crash of the stock market, 
which body slammed the country into a deep economic depression paralleling the 
Capitol's 30-year lifespan, foretold the death knell of the Italian entrepreneur's endeavor 
and marked the theater and all of its grandeur for collapse. With this, Mrs. Domino's 
prophetic plea was sadly confirmed and "she saved nothing that had memories of that 
theater" (Segneri). 

Rucoba 7 

The Capitol Theater's destiny was not written on stone and neither Rockford's 
elite businessmen nor Theodore Ingrassia had full control over the Capitol's life. Who 
knows? Maybe it was competition from the Rialto Theater. Maybe it was the general 
decline of the South Main Business District; "Whatever the Reason, the Capitol [Theater] 
faded away" (Lamb). On Saturday, July 19, 1958, "The Big Caper" was the last movie 
shown (Segneri). Foreshadowed by the fall of the stock market in 1929. Throughout the 
course of it own history, the Capitol Theater lagged behind its Italian business leaders. 

During the middle to late 1940s, musicians took over the stage; the lights came up 
as soon as the last movie was over and the musicians played until dawn. As Larry Gulino 
and Val Eddy, veteran local musicians, evoked in an interview for the article "The 
Capitol Theater Remembered" by Michael G. Segneri and Loreto L. Gulino, "We were 
just kids waiting in the wings for the opportunity to sit in and play." During the same 
time, the "Sons of Italy" sponsored Italian movies for the newly arrived and first 
generation Italian immigrants (Segneri). 

Michael Angiler remembered how on December 7, 1941 while "They were 
showing a Marx Brothers film, and abruptly the movie stopped. Then the news came as 
Mr. Sarna walked on stage and told the audience that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor" 

Mr. Sarna, who greeted and managed the Capitol from 1938 until 1959 — under 
Mr. Charles House's ownership, of course — to promote audiences and compete with the 
Rialto Theater next door, hosted "Amateur night." After winning $5 (during an amateur 
night) with the song "Pennies From Heaven," Joe Marino "thought [he] was one rich kid" 

Rucoba 8 

(Segneri). All the while, Lucy Domino attended the small windowed booth inside the 
theater as moviegoers made their way into the theatre to gaze at their favorite movie stars. 

Years later, in 1979, an informal partnership lead by Dave D'Agostin and his 
friends, Geoffrey Morris, Tom Talkington, Jim Nelson, Scott Johnson and Tom Clark 
bought out the building for $77,000. In the article by Joe Lamb, "Landmark Will Try for 
Comeback," D'Agostin stated his intentions to "revive [the theater] as a center of 
entertainment." In a cost-reduction business decision, instead of pocketing out $50,000 to 
contractors, the members of the group were planning to work weekends to reconstruct the 
theater. "We are hoping to get something started, avowed D'Agostin. This young group 
of investors ran a business from one of the building's storefronts; the "Wink Studio" 
specialized in visual merchandising, for example, screen-printing, including t-shirts and 
window displays for other businesses (Lamb). 

21 years later, during the Y2K year, as humanity dreaded a technological 
computer break-down, Patricio Rodriguez Rucoba, then 19, and a Mexican immigrant 
reminisced. . .a warm-loving autumn afternoon when, after pulling a 12-hour shift at a 
local manufacturing plant, he cheerfully cruised in his big, white '91 Cadillac, Deville 
and cruised by at La Despensa, a small Mexican-Colombian family-own pastry business. 
"The delicious sweet taste of the pastry, reminiscent of my homeland, and the mami 
(slang Spanish for an appealing young girl) at the register please the most refined palate." 
ventured Rucoba. 

At sundown the Capitol that housed a Mexican Nightclub: Guadalajara de 
Noche. The Club resonated with a bouncy beat that identified the neighborhood. At the 

■ I' 

Rucoba 9 

club, bets were made and boy met girl to the rhythm of Banda, Nortenas, Corridos, and 
Rancheras — all various types of melodies with Aztec blood entrained deep in its roots. 

Even at the turn of the millennium, the theater still waited to be reconstructed; the 
Capitol Theater, known as "Taco Loco," a fed an increasing Mexican community, 
characterized by first generation immigrants. Rudy Campos, the owner of the Capitol 
Theater planed to open a banquet hall (Campos). But the reconstruction of the Capitol 
would cost "at least a million dollars," verified Campos, after talking to the owner of the 
Irish Rose and several contractors. Transforming the Capitol into a Banquet Hall would 
also open new jobs; "You are talking about twelve-fifteen more jobs that just by restoring 
the Capitol Theater might produce" (Campos). 

Latinos hold very dearly their quinceaneras, bautizos, and so on. There are always 
people saying, "there is not a nice banquet hall to celebrate" (Campos). With this in mind, 
by reforming the old rundown Capitol into a banquet-hall the predominantly Latino 
community, in the south side of Rockford, would have a place to carry on with its 
traditions. "Go to a Latino church and you will always see quinceaneras (sweet fifteen), 
bautizos (baptizes), wedding and first-communions...." But Latinos will not be the only 
ones to use the hall, the banquet hall will also serve for campaigns, social gatherings and 
business meetings, which are not necessarily, and are not usually, predominantly Latino. 

The Winnebago County Recorder of Deeds recorded the sale and purchase of six 
different investors prior to WWII. Then, in 1939, Mr. Charles House purchased and held 
ownership of the Capitol until 1960 when Peter Perrecone, former Rockford Township 
Supervisor, came to pass as the Italian to embrace ownership of the Capitol ["heater 

Rucoba 10 

(Lamb). And during the early 2000s, Blanca Campos, a young Latina studying abroad in 
Spain, and her brother Rudy Campos owned the Capitol. 

But the story does not end here, for only time will tell and the tale is still being 
written. Just like Erica Paredes, a friend of Rucoba's, once said, "It is not time, but our 
lives that slip away." In sight of that, in the relative future it will not be 20 or 50 years 
that will have gone by, but out bodies that have turned to dust. . . and the Capitol Theater 
housing a new community. 

Who would have guessed that Thanks to Ingrassia's visit to Spain, back in the 
early 1920s, 70 years later, it would be those of Spanish descent to care for the theater. 
And with a chilling spark down his spine, this author, realized that, although unaware, he 
too and anybody else who set foot in the Capitol Theater became part of the story of the 
theater's reflection of the 20 century: as we reflect on history, we too become part of 

Works Cited 
Campos, Rudy. Personal Interview. 4 April 2002. 

"Capitol Draws Huge Crowds at Opening Shows." Rockford Morning Star 5 Feb. 1928: N. pag. 
"Capitol Movie Theater to Be Opened December 15." Rockford Morning Star 28 Aug. 1927: 

"Capitol Theater in South Main to Open February 4." Rockford Morning Star 17 Jan. 1928: N. 

Covey, Stephen R. "All Things are created twice." The Seven Habits of Highly Effective 

People Franklin Covey, 1989. 99. 
Ford R. Rowe. Rockford Streamlined 1834-1941. 1941. 
Gregory, Ginny. Phone Interview. Head of Rockford' s Community Development 

Committee. 4 April 2002. 
Hass, Wally. "Readers respond: Here Are Some Things They Miss." Rockford Register Star 12 

Jan. 2002: N. pag. 
Lamb, Joe. "Landmark Theater Will Try for Comeback." Rockford Register Star Oct. 

Macias, Frank. Phone Interview. Past Rialto Theater Manager. 15 April 2002. 
Microfilm from July 1958. "Rockfordiana Files." Rockford Public Library. 
"Modern Theater is Made Possible by Electricity." Rockford Morning Star 4 Feb. 192S: 

N. pag. 
"More on the Capitol Theater." Rockford Register Star 8 Feb 2002: N.pag. 
Nelson, C. Hal. "Capitol Theater." Sinissippi Saga 1905- 1997. 
Rockford Historic Preservation Commission. Capitol Theatre 17 May 1997: N. pag 
Rodriguez Rucoba, Patricio. Personal Experiences. Summer of 2000. 
"Rockfordiana Files." Rockford Public Library N. pag. 


Schmeltzer, Therese. Personal interview. 2 March 2002. 

Segneri, Michael G. and Gulino, Loreto L. Capitol Theater Remembered. 12 April 1999: N. pag. 

Turpoff, Glen and Bruening, Jeff. They Too Cast Shadows. Laona Baker. p92. 

The Capitol Theater up close. Personal photo by the author. April 2002. 

The Capitol Theater from the North. Personal photo by the author. April 2002. 

The Capitol Theater from about 50 feet. Personal photo by the author. 

The Capitol Theater from the South. Personal photo by the author. April 2002. 

The Capitol Theater's top of 
the Stage. Personal photo by 
the author. April 2002. 

Where the rich people sat at 
in the capitol people. 
Personal photo by the author. 
April 2002. 

The Story of Danfoss 

Danfoss Drives 

Cindy Nguyen 

Spring Semester 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 

Nguyen 2 

Cindy Nguyen 
10 May 2002 
English 101, DX 

The Story of Danfoss 

There are a lot of places and buildings located in Loves Park, but nothing 
compares to the new multimillion-dollar building where the writer's dad works — The 
Danfoss Drives Company. Opened in 2001, this 124,000-square-foot building is 
beautiful on the outside, and since the writer's dad enjoys working there, the writer wants 
to find out about this building. 

The original company name of Danfoss was "Dansk Koleautomatatik og 
Apparatfabrik," but because the company name was too long, in 1964, thirteen years after 
the company was created, Mad Clausen, the founder, decide to choose a new name, 
"Danfoss." This name has two syllables, dan and foss. Dan means product in Danish and 
foss related to product function, the same sound as water rushing down Norwegian 
mountains (Division of Danfoss). 

Clausen was a young engineer when he dreamed about starting his won company. 
He was the son of a farmer and his great-grandfather, Jorgen Hansen, also lived at the 
farm and had a little workshop behind the farmhouse. During the summer of 1°33, 
Clausen returned to his original home in Elsmark in Als, Denmark, to start a company in 
his old boyhood room in the farmhouse loft. That room served as his company 
headquarters for years, and from there he directed his worldwide company. The farm is 
still owned by the Clausen family, and the farmhouse itself is now part of the company 
museum. The museum shows the place in which Clausen grew up, but it is mainly a 










Nguyen 3 

technical museum illustrating developments from Clausen's first mechanical valve to the 
advanced mechatronic products of today (Danfoss Newspaper, Vol. 4). 

Danfoss Drives, the division for North America Motion Controls, officially 
opened its new, state-of-the-art 124,000-square-foot facility on 1-90 in Loves Park, IL, on 
November 17, 2001. The company provides frequency drives that are used in process 
lines, beverage and material handling industries, and wastewater applications. Products 
include compact units for motors, model controls of recurring motions, and soft starters 
for motor operation. The drives are designed and built for efficiency and performance 
(Division of Danfoss). 

Rockford Register Star Online offered the following information: 

Tommy Lorden, vice president of Lorden Distributing, bought 17 acres off 
North Bell School-Harvey Road for $740,520, according to the 
Winnebago County recorder's office. Loves Park annexed the property in 
November and rezoned it light industrial over the protests of dozens of 
nearby residents. If Lorden relocates, it would be the second beer 
distributor to move to Loves Park because of better access to 1-90. In 
1999, LaMonica Beverages opened a $3.5 million, 52,000-square-foot 
building on Rock Valley Parkway, just north of East Riverside. LaMonica 
distributes Anheuser-Busch products. Lorden, which has about 45 
employees, has been operating out of a 45,000-squarc-foot building on 
1819 Elmwood Road in the Northrock Industrial Park since 1978. The 
rezoning of Lorden' s new land stirred some controversy. Loves Park 
planners have long pegged the east side of North Bell School-Harvey 

■ • 
■■ ■ . . 










Nguyen 4 

Road as an industrial-commercial corridor because of its closeness to 1-90 
But the west side of the road is entirely residential, and homeowners are 
upset with the continuing industrial development to the east. Protesters 
collected 184 signatures against the rezoning, and 1 1 residents spoke 
against the plans in a zoning board meeting in July 1999. None of the 
protesters specifically objected to Lorden's plans. Lorden's property was 
the southern part of 74 acres the city wanting to rezone. Objectors wanted 
the city to rezone the property one business at a time. The city approved 
the annexation and rezoning despite the Protestants. 
Before Danfoss Drives built its corporate headquarters on its present site, the land 
was an open field with a few trees that were zoned light industrial. The first time the 
writer saw the landscaping and the building she was amazed. She admired the 
landscaping because it looked like a park with beautiful and so big that she felt excited, 
knowing her dad was working in this wonderful environment. 

In August 2001, Danfoss Drives moved from its location of many years at 
Eastrock in Rockford, Illinois, to new premises in Loves Park, just a few miles north. 
Danfoss put seventeen million dollars into this facility, which has offices, product 
laboratories and assembly. Danfoss believed that the investment was a significant step in 
its expansion strategy in the U.S. The company currently employees eights people at this 
site and expects this number to double in the coming years. Danfoss Drives' president, 
Ross Waites, wanted this building to accommodate their expansion. He said, "Due to 
rapid growth, we had simply rum out of room. " The new building offers high visibility . 
easy access for international visitors and a pleasant work environment There arc also 





Nguyen 5 

additional new Danfoss facilities around the world to provide added convenience and 
extended services that better address customers' needs. There are nine Danfoss facilities 
in North American and many others in fourteen countries (Division of Danfoss). 

Darby, the building architects, and Schmeling Construction Company, the main 
contractor, put a lot of time into the Danfoss Drives' project. Darby stated that they did 
not let anything, including the weather, slow down their efforts. In December 2000, with 
29.6 inches of snow and extreme cold, they were still making progress on the building. 
Because of their hard work, the Danfoss facility was completed in August 2001 . The 
open house celebration, which began on November 17, 2001, marked completion of the 
first stage of construction (Division of Danfoss). 

The 1 1,270 square-meter building includes a sophisticated product development 
laboratory; modern offices for sales, service, marketing, supply chain, engineering, and 
administrative functions; and a VLT drives plant that incorporates the latest equipment 
and assembly flow techniques (Division of Danfoss Inc). 

As soon as the writer's father enters the building, he discovers a contemporary 
workspace, complete with soothing decor and towering windows that let in plenty of 
sunlight. The writer's father said, "The product development laboratory, where 
adjustable frequency drive products are developed and tested, includes a motor room, a 
temperature-controlled unit test room, a high-power technology lab, a machine shop, a 
software lab, storage and an office, all within 850 square-meters, which are reall\ 
extremely beautiful (Nguyen). 

The parking lot is on three sides of the extremely attractive building The 
southeast corner is extended, part of a curved design. Nine rows of double-level 






Nguyen 6 

windows cover the two levels. The rest of the curved east side exterior also has long 
rows of double-level windows. At the end, is a circular outdoor gathering place The 
other three sides of the building are very plain and simple with only a few windows and 
vinyl siding. The employee entrance is like a silent, sleeping watchman, if one wants this 
entrance guard to open his eyes, then one has to use the employee identification card slide 
in the mouth on the doors. The front doors are vinyl siding and stay open to welcome 
visitors (Nguyen). 

The Loves Park building brings all employees together in one location, which is a 
major change from the four buildings at the Rockford facility. The office space sets 
standards in ergonomics, providing employees with efficient, comfortable, and functional 
workspaces. Features include sound absorbing partitions, easy-to-reach storage spaces, 
and adjustable keyboard trays. The move also gave Danfoss Drives the chance to beef up 
its computer network. Mr. Dannette Holified, Network Specialist said, "The network is 
ten times faster than the old one"(Holified). Employees take advantage of new 
technology that allows them to build redundancy into their setup. They have several 
network closes distributed throughout the building, so if they have a problem with a 
particular piece of equipment, not all users are affected. In assembly, comfort and safet> 
is also a priority, so a new lifting device was installed in part of assembly. Assembly 
processes are combined in one area and set up for optimal flow. Duplicated functions 
have been eliminated as well. For example, the warehouse and receiving operate in one 
area. The plant has increased production capacity and a centrally located motor room 
(Tversen, Danfoss News, Vol.10). 







Nguyen 7 

The facility is also equipped with a dedicated training room with Internet 
connections to presentation equipment and videoconferencing in an adjacent room The 
space is ideal for a busy schedule of sales and service training for Industrial and HVAC 
drives. Mark Peterson, Training Manager for Industrial Drives, says the training room is 
strategically places next to the laboratory, where course participants spend a good deal of 
time with hands-on activities, and he can handle his training much better. Mr. Peterson 
says that he has new catalogues and will be running his distributor classes in the Loves 
Park building (Peterson). 

Job rotation on the assembly line also contributes to reducing wasted time. Each 
employee can do all the jobs on the line, and they do not find it very difficult to work and 
sit in the same place all day, like they do in some of the other production areas. The 
working environment is so good that sick days have decreased, and the productivity is up. 
To take on an increased number of qualified employees and counteract the struggle with a 
shortage of engineers, the company has signed it first scholarship contracts with trainees. 
In the fall of 2001, Danfoss introduced a pilot project to reduce recruitment problems. 
The best trainees receive an offer of support for engineering or IT study. The scholarship 
holders are contractually obliged to work with Danfoss. After finishing four years of 
engineering study, they must work for Danfoss (Division of Danfoss Inc). 

The Danfoss sales companies are managed by local professionals who understand 
their customers' needs. As a result, Danfoss today defines the state-of-the-art in many 
areas of components technology because of their superior quantity product runs, which 
incorporate the most advanced manufacturing techniques. The writer enjoyed writes the 

• - 






Nguyen 8 

story about Danfoss Drives Company because it is a gift for her dad to have a job in such 
a beautiful place. 

VLT 5000 FLUX (Options) 

electronic Drives and Controls 



***2f • 

■ * 'I 1 >- 4.' . 

i »*■ 

Roots from the past give ballast in the future-Museum in Denmark (Photo: Unknown} 

b - 


Nguyen 9 

The first factory building - a wooden hut of 60 m 2 - was built in the farm kitchen garden 
(photo: Unknown). 





1993-Mad Clausen establishes his own 

company--The first Valves: ARV and TRV 

J".' , :. . . 

'"'••■' '' ! - ■ 


Nguyen 10 

A piece of vegetable garden is in corporate and give place for 10x6 meter wood 
building — 1935(Photo: Unknown). 

The company changes its name to Danfoss — 1946 (Photo: Unknown). 

Nguyen 1 1 

h-4 ci rdbo r-*j 

EElsma rl< 

Sonde r-fj ury 

20 Icrr 

7ind the way to Als, Denmark 

ILL— 1982 (Photo: Unknown). 

Hampton Products Inc, Rockford, 

Nguyen 12 

Hampton Products Inc. Rockford, IL-(Photo: Unknown). 

Danfoss Worldwide. 



Nguyen 13 

The landscape before Danfoss Drives builder. fAiioust 200ft nhoto: N/A). 

November 2000 


Nguyen 14 

November 200 

September 2000 

October 2000 



Nguyen 15 

The month with a lot snow. . . despite record cold and 29.6 inches of snow (December 
2000, photo: Unknown). 

December 2000-winter wonderland (Photo: Darby) 

With 29.6 inches of snow, progress is still being made on new DD complex (photo 
Darby, December 2000). 



Nguyen 16 

The Construction worked inside the DD building ( Femruary 2001, Photo: n/a). 

April 2001 -with 90% of outside of building complete (Photo: unknown). 

Working outside of DD building (June 2001 , photo: Unknown). 

Nguyen 17 

The Danfoss almost done, June 2001 , will be complete in Ju1y(Photo: Unknown). 

The Loves Park new facility in U.S. (photo. Hutchins, August 2001 

Nguyen 18 

Charles Manz, D.D. motion controls 
president, speakds during the Open 
House Celebration (photo: Nguyen, 
November 17,2001). 

Mark Peterson, Danfoss Drives 
Training Manager with young guests 
in the Training Lab (photo: Mrs. 
Peterson, November 2001). 

Jeff Duncan and Jim chichock 

discusses product lines (Photo: 

Unknown, November 2001). 




Nguyen 19 

Works Cited 

Division of Danfoss Inc. Abstracts Online Services. Develop. No Date. 

Available [] 
Division of Danfoss Inc. Abstracts Online Services. Photo of Danfoss facility. No Date. 

Available []. 
Holifies, Dannette. Personal Interview. March 2002. 
Iversen, Michael. Celebration for Mad Clausen. "Danfoss Newspaper." Volume 4, 

Number 7. Marcha 1999. 
Iversen, Michael. News of Danfoss. "Danfoss News." Volume 10, 

Number 2. February 2002. 
New Facility, USA, Loves Park. (Photo by: Jenny Hutchins, August 2001). 
Nguyen, Phuc. Personal Interview. April 2002. 
Old Facility, USA, Rockford. (Photo by: n/a, around 1982). 
Peterson, Mark. Personal Interview. March 2002. 
Rockford Register Star . Abstracts Online Services. "Business." No Date. 

Available [] 














John Deere Historic Site: Gateway to Agriculture's Most Important Invention 

Anna Ramsby 

14 May 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 

Anna Ramsby 
English 101 RRM 
24 April 2002 

Ramsby - 1 

John Deere Historic Site: Gateway to Agriculture's Most Important Invention 

John Deere was the founder of the company that produced one of the 
most helpful tools to a farmer: The Steel Plow. His business started out small 
in the early 1800s, but expanded until it became what it is today: 'The largest 
agricultural equipment manufacturer in the world (Quad Cities... 12). Although 
there has been an extreme growth in the Deere Company, the honor and 
dedication of John Deere has stayed with the company throughout all the 

changes it has seen, resulting in a product that to this day, is the best that it 


Rasmby - 2 
can be. 

At the young age of four, John Deere's love for blacksmithing blossomed 
when he sat and watched the blacksmiths in his small town of Middlebury, 
Vermont, as they pounded away at their forges, converting scrap iron into 
majestic pieces of art. Every day, on his way back to his parents' tailoring 
shop, he would stop to sit in the doorway of the blacksmiths shop to see the 
men sweating over a hot fire that worked their arms until they could give no 
more(Collins 8). 

Later in that year, John's father returned to his former land, Britain, to 
collect an inheritance left to him by a relative. On the morning of June 16, 
1808, William Deere wrote a letter to his oldest son saying in part "Let Trust 
and Honesty be your guide and on no pretense Deviate from it. . . " This was the 
last that anyone heard from William Deere. It was thought by the townsfolk 
that he either made it to Britain safely and stayed there, or that he perished at 

After the disappearance of John's father, his mother decided to continue 
the family's tailoring business. This decision required a tremendous amount of 
help from John and his youner siblings, but they were up to the challenge, and 
helped out every day, dropping off clothing, or picking it up, on their way to 
and from school(Collins 11). At this point, John's main obstacle between doing 

Ramsby - 3 
what he dreamed and himself was their family business. His mother was not 

able to manage everything by herself and needed John's help, so he stayed at 

her side until the year 1821, when his younger brothers and sisters were old 

enough to step in to his shoes. At that time his dream became a reality and he 

entered into an apprenticeship with Captain Lawrance(Collins 17). This 

apprenticeship was to last for four years, with a salary of $30.00 for the first 

year, increasing $5.00 each year there after. John received room, board, and 

clothing all for free. He also was taught reading, writing, and arithmetic 

(Collins 17; John Deere - John Deere Biography 1). 

In the second year of John's apprenticeship, things were going very well 
for him. Farmers proclaimed that tools brought to John would be returned to 
them in better shape than before(Collins 19). 

By 1825, John's apprenticeship was over. He now needed to be a 
journeyman (skilled labor) before he could start his own blacksmith shop. With 
his reputation as a great blacksmith, there were two men who wanted him to 
work for them. These two men's shops were right next to each other, down the 
street from his home in Middleburry, so John decided to give himself fully to 
blacksmithing and began working for both of them. David Wells and Ira Allen 
both appreciated John's hard work and determination for the four long years 
that he persisted at doing the best that he could (Collins 20-21 ; John Deere - 

Ramsby - 4 
John Deere Biography 1). 

Across the street from Well's and Allen's shop's was maybe the only 
thing that could get John away from the forge. A young lady named Demarius 
Lamb was being instructed at a school for young ladies, and took a great 
liking to John Deere. It seemed as if she was the only one who could talk John 
into stepping out of the shop for a picnic or carriage ride. The two of them 
became very close, and it was Demarius who helped John through his 
mother's death in 1826 (Collins 21-23). 

About one year after his mother's death, John got an offer from Colonel 
Ozias Buel to come and work for him at a sawmill and linseed-oil mill that he 
was building outside of town. John took the position and became a full-fledged 
blacksmith at the young age of 22. He especially loved his new job because 
basically anything that was metal in the mill, he made, and he could make sure 
that if there was any way to improve what he was working on, then he could, 
without worrying about others telling him what he could or could not do(Collins 

By January 28, 1827, John and Demarius knew they longed to be together 
indefinitely, and got married on that day. They bought a house and settled 
down in Vergennes, Vermont, but could not afford to build a blacksmith shop on 
to their new house, so John continued to be a blacksmith, but began working 


£ : 

c ; 

Ramsby - 5 
for John McVenne, in Vergennes. Under McVenne, times became very rough, 

because the harvest was extremely poor. Farmers were forced to pay their bills 

in grains, chicken, or vegetables because money was so scarce. At this time, 

John and Demarius were expecting their first child, and they felt that they 

would not be able to survive in Vergennes, so they made the decision to 

move to Salisbury, Vermont, where John began working at Briggs Shovel 

Factory, making tools(Collins 25). 

After about a year of working at the Briggs Shovel Factory, John got 
bored and wanted to be able to personalize his work. He also wanted to be able 
to improve the quality of his work. This was not possible at the factory, so he 
took a leap of faith and bought some land at Four Corners, near Leicester, 
Vermont. The land was surrounded by rich farmers and was at the crossroads of 
the main stagecoach lines. Because he did not have enough to buy the land on 
his own, Jay Wright loaned him the money. The only term to the loan was that 
Jay be a silent partner in his business (Collins 26). 

With John's new loan, it was time to build. In 1829 John built his 
business and home, with a lot of help from the community. They were as 
happy that he was there, as he was to be there (Collins 27). 

Not long after the shop was built, it caught on fire one winter night. 
There was no explanation reason for it bursting into flames. It just did, so John 

Ramsby - 6 
borrowed from Jay Wright again and built it back up (Collins 27). 

A few weeks later and the shop was re-built and ready for forging. About 
two months after he completed building it the second time, Jennette 
Deere was born, but their rejoicing was short lived. As rain, thunder and 
lightening coursed through the town, the shop was struck by lightening, causing 
it to burn to the ground once again (Collins 28). 

By this time John was severely in debt, but Jay Wright was kind enough 
to lend him money once again. This loan was for $78.76. John hoped that the 
money would last his family until he could find steady work (Collins 28). 

In 1831, Amos Bosworth, the owner of a hotel and other properties, as 
well as some shares in the stagecoaches in Royalton, came and asked John 
Deere if he would like to work for him keeping his coaches and carriages 
repaired. This was the steady wage job that he had been looking for, so John, 
Demarius and Jannette moved to Royalton, Vermont(Collins 28-30). 

Exciting as it was for John, working for Amos, he still had the burning 
desire to have his own blacksmith's shop. After about two years in Royalton, 
John and Demarius decided to move on to a town that did not have any 
blacksmiths at all. This town was Hancock, Vermont. He bought some property 
by the river, where fire would hopefully stay away from his shop, once and for 
all(Collins 28-30). 

!:! : 

Ramsby - 7 
Farmers in and around Hancock said that John's shovels and hoes were 

"like no others that could be bought - they scoured themselves of the soil by 

reason of their smooth, satiny surfaces." His tools were so known that people 

came from miles and miles around just to have him do their blacksmithing 

(Collins 33). 

All the while, John was furthering the quality of his tools and had built a 
dam across the stream by his shop. When the water flowed over the dam, it 
turned a water wheel that he had built on to his shop, and in the end, turned 
his grindstone. With this powering of his grindstone, he could polish his steel 
tools perfectly without wearing out his arms (Collins 33). 

Unfortunately, John was still in debt to Jay Wright, so John sold his 
property back to the man he had bought it from, and started paying rent. By 
October 1836, Jay sued John for his money, saying he had to pay the remainder 
before November 7, otherwise be put in to jail (Collins 33). 

When Amos heard this, he informed John that he was moving west to a 
town that Leonard Andrus (a settler from Vermont) had founded, Grand Detour, 
Illinois. He encouraged John to come with him. The small village had 
waterpower, but no blacksmith, so there would definitely be work. So at 
the age of 32, John sold his shop to his father-in-law for $200.00, giving some of 
the money to Demarius to take care of herself and their children, and took the 

n, •» 

Ramsby - 8 
rest with him. He now headed out on a journey with many other American 

pioneers to an unknown land (Collins 34-35; John Deere 1; John Deere - John 

Deere biography 1 ). 

When the pioneers in Grand Detour heard about his coming, they were 

very excited, and the minute he set down his belongings, Leonard had him 

working on his saw mill. John knew that this was where he was supposed to be. 

He built a 18-by-24-foot house built not long after his arrival, and was ready for 

the winter(Collins 37-38). 

Original Deere Home 
When Spring finally came, it seemed to John that the farmers 

were not as excited about getting back out in the fields, as those in Vermont 

had been. Talking with some of them, he realized it was because the soil in 

Illinois was a lot richer than that in Vermont, and stuck to their cast iron plows. 

They had to stop every few steps to scrape the soil off of the plow, which made 

for very hard plowing. No one thought it would be possible to make a 

1< " 


Ramsby - 9 
self -scouring plow, but John was up to the challenge. 

On one April morning in 1837, John was visiting Leonard at his mill and 

saw a broken circular steel saw blade sitting in the corner of the mill. Leonard 

gladly gave John the junk metal which John curved, and shined, until it was 

smooth as a baby's butt. He then attached it to a wooden plow base and set 

out to give it a try in Lewis Crandall's field. Instead of hooking up the normal 

team of horses, John put just one horse in charge of his plow. With that one 

horse, he plowed the smoothest, straightest line around, and best of all, he did 

not have to scrape the blade once! (Collins 39-43; John Deere 1 ; John Deere - 

John Deere Biography 2; Sollenberger 1 ). 

The World's First Self-Scouring Plow 
Only a few days after he finished the plow, an old farmer came by 
asking if he could try out the plow, and if it didn't work, bring it back. Now if 
it did work, he would only bring back the money for the plow. Two weeks 
later, the farmer returned with his money, and a request for more of his plows 

Ramsby - 10 
(Collins 43-44). 

By the summer of 1838, John was in Grand Detour to stay, so he sent for 
his family. When Demarius and the children got there, he met his son Charles 
Henry for the first time (Collins 46). 

Meanwhile, John added on to his shop again. This time he built a horse- 
treadmill that powered his grindstone. This method proved to be even better 
than the stream-powered method. He made his metal the sharpest and shiniest 
that it had ever been. Farmers said that his plow was the "singing plow," 
because of the high-pitched whine it made while cutting through he soil. By 

the year 1842, he was selling 100 plows a year, making about two a week 
(Collins 47). 

Horse-powered Treadmill 

Ramsby - 1 1 
By that time he needed help financially and physically, so he went into a 
partnership with a good friend, who was also the founder of Grand Detour, 
Illinois. Major Leonard Andrus signed a contract with John Deere on March 20, 
1843, which said in part: 

"that the said Deere and Andrus have aggreed and by these 
presents do aggree to become copartners together in the art and trade 
of blacksmithing, plough-making and all things thereto belonging at the 
said Grand Detour, and all other business that the said parties may 
hereafter deem necessary for their mutual interest and benefit . . . 

The said Deere on his part further aggrees that he will furnish the 
shop and out-buildings belonging thereto lately occupied by none than 
said Deere as a Blacksmith shop ..." (Clark 43). 

Active Blacksmith Shop at John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour 
Shortly after Deere and Andrus finalized their partnership, they built a 
two-story factory approximately one block from Deere's blacksmith shop. This 

Ramsby - 12 
factory employed about 10 employees at first( not counting the horses running 
the treadmill-powered grinders). These few employees manufactured 400 
plows in their first year of business, and, as it was put by the brother of the 
companies bookkeeper: "He[John Deere] kept everybody who worked for him 
busy. No lazy man need apply for a job with John." (Collins 49). 

Although Deere's company was getting larger, he still made sure that 
every plow was made of the highest quality, and that it was made to last 
throughout years of hard work. 

The company Jewett and Hitchcock made a plow similar to Deere's, 
except that it had interchangeable parts. This allowed any broken parts on the 
plow to be replaced, unlike Deere's plow which became useless upon being 
broken. Deere decided to start selling the Jewett and Hitchcock plow, and at 
the same time built interchangeable parts onto his own plows (Collins 47,49). 

To be able to build all of these new plows, John Deere needed a large 
supply of steel. This was a near impossibility where he lived. There was no 
source of steel around Grand Detour, but he finally contacted an English firm 
that agreed to roll cast steel that he could use to cut the moldboards for his 
plows. It took the steel many months to get to Illinois, and by the time it 
arrived, it had rust spots on it from the salt water in the ocean. That did not 
work at all, so John searched further. He later contacted the company Jones fr 
Quiggs, which was located in Pittsburgh, and in 1846 they were the first 
company to ship cast plow steel to the United States (Clark 42,43; Collins 50). 

By 1846 Deere and Andrus' company was manufacturing about one 

Ramsby - 13 
thousand plows. With such a booming business, Deere could see that Grand 
Detour was not the best place for business. He needed somewhere closer to 
supplies and transportation. If a plow was to be delivered to a farmer any 
distance away, it had to be delivered by a wagon(which normally got stuck in 
the mud). John and Robert N. Tate traveled around, looking for the best site, 
and when they came to Moline, Illinois, John decided it was the new home for 
his factory. The town was mostly run on water power, which was important to 
him (Clark 44,45; Collins 51). 

When John and Robert returned to Grand Detour to report their news, 
Leonard Andrus was anything but happy. He was insistent on staying in Grand 
Detour, so in 1847 the partnership between Deere and Andrus was terminated. 
Andrus continued manufacturing plows in Grand Detour, whereas Deere moved 
on to Moline, in hopes of building his business even more (Clark 45). 

By the Spring of 1848 John had made a new partnership with Tate and 
Gould, in Moline, and was working on a building in which to manufacture plows. 
In the summer of 1848 the first plows were made, but for some reason John 
advertised the founding of Moline Plow Works as 1847. He never did explain 
why he did this (Collins 53). 

The first fall that John was in Moline, things did not look all that 
prosperous. Farmers' harvests were not as large as they had hoped, so they 
were short on money, and were buying plows and other farming equipment on 
credit. To try to make up the money somewhere, John started advertising at 

::; 5 ji.i 

Ramsby - 14 

county fairs and other places he thought may bring a lot of business. Because 
of this, farmers from Wisconsin and Iowa were able to buy products from Deere, 
Tate 6t Gould through local states and country peddlers (Collins 53,54). 

By 1852 John's business had beat the odds, and was growing rapidly. In 
an effort to help things along even more, he put an advertisement in the Moline 
paper on April 1,1852. Within the advertisement he declared that he was 
ready to move production from the current 4,000 plows per year to 10,000 per 
year, if necessary(Collins 55). 

Sales started to increase slightly, but John's partners argued that all of 
his changes, or improvements on the plows were unnecessary, and that they 
cost too much money. They did not agree with his reasoning that if they kept 
improving their plows, then farmers would keep buying their plows because 
they were much better quality than any others on the market. Anyone who 
bought one of Deere's plows would also be assured that it would be the best 
plow that he could produce (Collins 55). John himself once made the 
statement "I will never put my name upon an implement that doesn't have in it 
the best that is in me"(This Tablet... 9). 

A catalog of the company, dated 1868 proclaimed that "Almost every 
year, in our long experience, we have discovered and applied some new 
features to our Plows, enhancing their value". Because John Deere was so 
persistent at bettering his plows, his business has come a long way from the 
small shop in the back of his house. 

Ramsby - 1 5 




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we will send you a copy free 
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Ask for package No. P39 
and address your letter to 
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John Deere Advertisement 


Ramsby - 16 

At one time, the thought of 1,000 plows being built was unimaginable, and yet 
more than that are now built every week. Without John Deere, Moline never 
would have been named the plow capital of the world(Clark 54-55). 

Meanwhile, John Deere was prospering in many other aspects of his life 
as well. He owned several farms, houses, and business blocks in Moline, and 
also had shares of stock at First National Bank, and the Moline 6t Rock Island 
horse railway. John Deere was not a selfish man in any way, though, he was 
always contributing to a good cause, many times being the first to give when a 
new church, chapel, or marker place was being built(Clark 54). 

On May 18, 1886, the Moline Doily Republican had a front page story 
about the unfortunate death of John Deere which had occurred the night 
before, at 8:00 p.m., in his home. The citizens of Moline mourned his death on 
Thursday the 20th, at 10:00 a.m. in the Congregational Church. There was a 
plow made of flowers, near his casket which had the inscription "John Deere" 
on the beam, and speaking on his behalf Reverend C.L. Morgan said "Nothing 
left his shop but spoke the truth, was just as represented ... He was not a 
theorizer, or one who dealt in impracticable things, but in solid facts". John 
Deere's body was laid to rest on a bluff overlooking the city, where one may 
see many a beautiful sunset (Clark 57-58). 

Upon John Deere's death, his son Charles Deere became the president of 
the company. Charles wanted to expand the company, so that they could 

Ramsby - 17 

manufacture more than just plows, so they began plans to start making 
cultivators, corn planters, and cotton planters. Charles also made plans to turn 
the company in to a full-line manufacturer of farm machinery (This Tablet 7...). 
In 1911, now under William Butterworth's leadership, Deere 6t Company 
merged with six firms building non-competitive equipment, thus fulfilling 
Charles' dream and becoming a full-line manufacturer of farm machinery (This 
Tablet... 7). 

Meanwhile, the country was going through some hard times. Post-war 
farm depression had hit agriculture, but Deere 6t Company was pulling through. 
At this time, the company produced the first tractor to bear the John Deere 
name, the Model D. This achievement made them known as the the leader in 
the world of tractors (This Tablet... 7). 

During the years of the depression and World War II, the company 
continued to focus on bettering their products by experimentation and 
research, resulting in a momentum that carried the company through the years 
following the depression and World War II (This Tablet... 7). 

In the 1960s the company purchased a mixed fertilizer business and 
became a full-line producer of agricultural chemicals. They also began 
producing industrial machinery that could be used for construction, 
earthmoving, logging, landscaping and material-handling (This Tablet... 8). 

Ramsby - 18 

Looking at Deere 6t Company today, four cents out of every sales dollar 
goes towards research and development of their product, resulting in many 
cost-saving contributions to agriculture (This Tablet... 9). 

As Cliff Ramsby points out, John Deere produces the most reliable farm 
machinery around because they are willing to spend the time and money to do 
the proper research and experimentation to better their product to the best of 
their ability. Even to this day, there are tractors operating that were made in 
the 1950s or earlier. This just proves the well-known phrase "Nothing Runs Like 
A Deere." John Deere tractors were truly made to last. A son of one of Cliff's 
friends works as an engineer for the John Deere Company, and this son 
explained that he as an engineer actually takes a prototype in to the field 
himself and tests it until it breaks(which may take quite a while at times). It is 
odd that an engineer ever leaves his office in this day and age, but this is proof 
that the company is truly sticking to what John Deere believed, that you must 
make a product to the best of your ability, otherwise do not bother to make it 
at all (Ramsby Interview). 

When Deere and Andrus ended their partnership in 1847, Deere had wild 
asperations about building a tremendous company in Molin, Illinois. His dream 
became a reality, in time, but Andrus' dream turned out anything but perfect. 
Later that same year, Andurs died and the Grand Detour Plow Company was 
moved to Dixon, Illinois. Grand Detour began falling apart as a town. The 
population went from 1 ,500 to a few hundred in that year. Sadly the John 

Ramsby - 19 

Deere home was left vacant until Catherine Butterworth, Charles Deere's 
granddaughter, bought and restored it. She and her husband used the home as 
a summer house for many years, until the early 1960's, when the home was 
turned into a historic site (Dickow 31-33; Scholler 17-18). 

The John Deere Historic Site is Located in Grand Detour, Illinois on Route 
2 between Oregon and Dixon. From April 1 to October 31 it can be visited daily 
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a charge of $3.00 for those visitors twelve years of 
age and older. If wanting to visit in the winter months, or to arrange a tour, 
call (815) 652-4551. 

If you would like to just get away for the day, the John Deere Historic 
Site is a great place to visit. The grounds as a whole have a cheerful ora about 
them, causing anyone who wanders close to catch the spirit instantaneously. It 
is also an enlightening trip about how the lives of farmers were greatly changed 
by the advances that John Deere made in the field of agriculture. It seems as if 
a lot of people have forgotten how life was generations ago, so maybe this trip 
would help everyone re-connect with a lost generation. 


Ramsby - 20 

Entrance to John Deere Historic Site 

Restored Deere House - View from Back 

Ramsby - 21 

Restored Deere House - View From Front 

Ramsby - 22 
Works Cited 

Active Blacksmith Shop at John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour. 

Anna Ramsby. 16 February 2002. 
Clark, Neil M. . John Deere: He Gove to the World the Steel Plow. 

Moline, IL:Desaulniers, 1937. 
Collins, David R. . Pioneer Plowmaker: A Story About John Deere. 

Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, c1990. 
Dickow, Terry. "John Deere Historic Site. " Illinois Magazine. July - 

Aug. 1988: 31-33 . 
Entrance to John Deere Historic Site. Anna Ramsby. 16 February 2002. 
Horse - Powered Treadmill. Drawer unknown. Farm Power in the 

Making of America. Johnson, pp.17. Date of photo unknown. 
"John Deere." No author given. No publication company or date given. 

18 February 2002. < 

John Deere. Photographer unknown. Farm Tractor Color History - Big 

Green - John Deere GP Tractors. Deere Archives. Pripps & 

Morland. pp. 9. Date of photo unknown. 
John Deere Advertisement. Farm Inventions in the Making of America. 

Johnson, pp. 15. 
"John Deere - History." No author given. Deere El Company 2002. No 

date given. 2pp. 18 February 2002. < 

"John Deere Home a Site." No author given. ComPortOne. 1996-2000: 


Ramsby - 23 

1pp. 18 February 2002. < 

"John Deere - John Deere Biography." No author given. Deere h 

Company 2002. No date given. 5pp. 18 February 2002. <http://> 
Original Deere Home. This Tablet... . Rockfordiana Files. Rockford 

Public Library. No author. No Date. No Photographer, pp. 2. 
Quad Cities - Official 2002 Visitors Guide. Visitors guide. No author 

given. Quad Cities Convention St Visitors Bureau 2002. 
Ramsby, Clifford. Personal Interview. 30 March 2002. 
Ramsby, Nancy. Personal Interview. 10 April 2002. 
Restored Deere House - View From Back. Anna Ramsby. 16 February 

Restored Deere House - View From Front. Anna Ramsby. 16 February 

Scholler, Jack. "Grand Detour Once Site of Deere Plow Works." Morning 

Star. Sept. 1955: 17-18. 
Sollenberger, George. "Publications: Where It All Began - John Deere 

Limited." John Deere Limited 2000. No date given. 2pp. 18 

February 2002. < 

Tablet located at John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour. Derrick 

Prentice. 16 February 2002. 
This Tablet... . Pamphlet. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public 

Library. No Author. No Date. 

Ramsby - 24 
World's First Self-Polishing Plow, The. Painter unknown. Farm 
Inventions in the Making of America. Johnson, pp. 13. 

Birth of a Bicycle Store: Kegel's 

Roman G. Steward 
English 101 
14 May 2002 
Rock Valley College 




Steward- 1 

Roman Steward 
English 101NDF1 
14 May 2002 

Birth of a Bicycle Store: Kegal's 

Kegel's Bicycles of Rockford has positively influenced many lives over the years and 
changing times have brought positive changes to Kegel's Bicycles. 

In 1923, Mr. Joseph Kegel moved the family-owned business from Freeport, IL to 
Rockford, IL in pursuit of more business. Mr. Joseph Kegel ran the family business with his two 
sons Bob and Harold. Together they sold motorcycles, bicycles, and toys out of one store. Then, 
in 1950, Joseph Kegel tragically died of a heart attack, which caused a major split in the family 
business. The older son, Bob, believed selling motorcycles would be more profitable than 
bicycles. Harold, being the youngest, had decided selling bicycles would be his passion, so each 
brother took his product and went his separate way. Bob sold motorcycles at 1 10 Madison St.. 
Rockford, IL. and Harold sold bicycles on State St., downtown Rockford "Kegel's Bicycles". 

Harold's business did extremely well until a strip mall was introduced in 1977, in 
downtown Rockford. The strip mall killed business at Harold's store, so he decided to shut it 
down and sell bicycles only at the Charles Street location. Harold's love for the business ran 
short, so he sold Kegel's to a local businessman by the name of Mark Berryman in 1979. Mr. 
Berryman hired employee Robb Sinks in 1980 as a mechanic and bicycle salesman. Robb's 
mechanical and social skills made him an asset to Kegel's. In 1985, Mark Berryman sold Kegel's 
to Greg Shosie. Robb continued working for Greg Shosie until 19SS. Robb says '* 1 needed more 
money, so I took a high paying factory job." (Sinks, Interview). Needless to say. the factory job 
was not Robb's dream job. So, in 1992, Robb returned to Kegel's to pick up w here he left off. 
Greg Shosie was still the owner and was glad to have Robb back. 


Opportunity knocked in 1997; Greg Shosie sold Kegel's to Robb Sinks. Robb says "I 
have worked here for fourteen years and when the chance to own Kegel's came along, it was 
perfect for me." Robb enjoys dealing with people and watching those who bought bikes here as 
kids, bring in their own kids to purchase bikes. 

Robb has changed Kegel's Bicycles in many ways since he has been the new owner. The 
one-level, brick-walled, with glass windows surrounding the northwest side of the building, still 
provides Kegel's with that small-town look. There is a lighted billboard out front that displays 
the store sales and specials, and also the Kegel's name. The roof is made of old cedar shingles 
that occasionally fall off in small pieces, during high winds. There is an operating stoplight in the 
front window of the store that helps get the customer's attention. Robb says, "The stoplight's 
serves it purpose, but it looks cool in our front window." 

The inside of Kegel's smells like new rubber tires and a variety of lubricants. There five 
different sections that divide the store. They are: BMX bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, a 
maintenance department, and bicycle apparel. The maintenance department services all makes 
and brands of bicycles. There is also two sales counters. Customer Brad Holder recalls Kegel's 
having only two sections, road bikes and BMX bikes. He says, " Now days, you can buy every 
type of bicycle here and also get it serviced." (Holder, Interview) Robb says, "I run the store to 
meet the needs of people and their riding styles." Changing technology and people growing up 
brought on the store changes. 

Kegel's Bicycles have been a part of Rockford for many years. Robb Sink's 
changes to the store now serve a variety of customers big or small. He says the store will always 
change to meet the demands of the customers as well as the demands of changing times. 


Works Cited 
Holder, Brad. Personal interview 29 April 2002. 
"Kegel's Bicycles" Rockford Register Star 7 June 1 999 Sec. 1 B 
Sinks, Robb. Personal interview 10 April 2002. 


■ ■■■-,.■ 


* *\ . ^ 





" ' ' 



,11 I 


The Ken-Rock Community Center: One of Rockford's Best Resources 

Ryan Brannan 
Spring Semester 2002 

RockValley College 

Ryan Brannan 
English 101 NDF 1 
17 April 2002 

The Ken-Rock Community Center: One of Rockford's Best Resources 

For over 70 years Rockford area residents have benefited from the Ken-Rock 
Community Center and the many programs that it offers. The center has come a long way from 
the 13 member luncheon group, consisting of all women, to becoming the staple of all of 
Southeast Rockford that it is today("New Twenty-Eight Thousand Dollar Addition Marks 
Ken-Rock Centers Progress.") 

Shortly before 1930 many people began to move into an unpopulated area of Southeast 
Rockford known as Kinsey's Addition. The majority of these people were wives and children of 
servicemen stationed at Camp Grant. During this time the nation was suffering through an 
economic depression that left many people feeling hopeless("New Twenty-Eight.") 

In an attempt to rid themselves of this terrible feeling, a group of 13 women from the 
Kinsey's Addition area started a luncheon club. The initial purpose of the club was to discuss 
problems and to confide in each other. From this humble beginning, the Ken-Rock Community 
Center of today was born(New Twenty-Eight.) 

The first order of business for the 13 member luncheon club so many years ago was to 
have a house in which to conduct their business. After a summer of hard work doing odd jobs 
and pooling their money together, the women had their dream. With the help of Mr. Willis 
Hubbard, whose wife was one of the 13 members.the house was built and completed by Mr. 
Hubbard in 1929, at 2904 Bildahl Street("New Twenty-Eight.") 


In the early days, the center specialized in many craft and educational programs to serve 
the community, as well as sports for the communities youth. The center experienced a first 
period of growth in the early 30's, and in 1936, Mr. Hubbard designed and built a twenty-eight 
thousand dollar expansion that was completed inl936("Twenty-Eight Thousand.") After the first 
expansion the center underwent a name change, the name was changed from The Junior League 
House, to The Junior League Settlement House.Just four years later, the name was changed 
again, to the Ken-Rock Community Center. Several local elementary schools were called upon 
to vote on a new name for the center. Ken-Rock was the name of choice for the Morris Kennedy 
and Rock River school areas that the center served at that time("Ken-Rock Community Center to 
Mark Twenty-Fifth Anniversary.") 

Once again experiencing rapid growth, Ken-Rock expanded in 1962. Mr. Willis Hubbard 
designed the expansion and Gust Larson was contracted to construct the expansion for 1 42 
thousand dollars("Ken-Rock Opens Drive For Building.") 

Through the remainder of the next two decades, Ken-Rock continued to reach more and 
more area residents and space continued to be an ongoing problem. This problem was solved in 
1979 when Ken-Rock purchased the old Morris Kennedy school from the Rockford School 
Board. After renovating the building, Ken-Rock moved into the old Morris Kennedy in 1980 
where it remains today ("Ken- Rock Has New Setup.") 

At 3218 1 1th Street, the tall, dark, square, and intimidating looking building Does not 
look like a place where people can come for assistance in their daily routines. Boy is that wrong. 

This writer recalls his fust time at Ken-Rock watching his older brother play in the 

Ken-Rock basketball league, just wishing that he was old enough to play. This writer remembers 
playing basketball at Ken-Rock, starting at five years of age, until entering high school, where 
this writer used the skills that he first learned at Ken-Rock to play four years of high school 

At the age of six, this writer also began participation in the Ken-Rock fastpitch softball 
league. This writer still has many close friends that he met first by playing in these leagues as a 

Through his high school years, this writer also participated in the Ken-Rock after school 
recreation program. Instead of hanging out and getting into trouble, as many of his friends were, 
this writer went go to the center to play ball instead. For this writer, the center was a second 
home for many years. 

After graduating from high school, this writer also officiated youth basketball at 
Ken-Rock for four years. In comparison to when this writer played, the program has exploded. 
When this writer played, they had no officials, and the kids were only given a T-shirt. Now the 
kids receive a shirt and shorts, in addition to a pizza party to the team with the best 
sportsmanship for the season(Guth.) 

Many of these improvements are the results of the hard work put in by the Chief 
Executive Officer John Guth. John began as the Athletic Director at the center and has worked 
his way up to be the Chief Executive Officer. John has done his best to live up to the mission 
statement at Ken-Rock, which is, "People Enjoying Positive Opportunities." Not onl> is John 
responsible for the improvements in the basketball program, but he is also responsible for the 
only slow-pitch softball program in Rockford. Ken-Rock is also home to one of onl\ four tackle 

Bran nan -4 
four tackle footbal teams in Rockford. 

Ken-Rock is also home to several educational programs. The most successful is the 
G.E.D. program in which the girlfriend of this writer participated in and completed. In 2001 
alone, Ken-Rock had 442 students participate in the G.E.D. program. Out of the 442, over 100 
graduated. In the Rockford area, 35% of all G.E.D. graduates graduated from Ken-Rock. 
Another important statistic, especially to the United Way, which is the only outside source of 
funding to the center, is that 47% of the G.E.D. participants were minorities(Guth.) 

In addition to sports and educational activities, Ken-Rock also strives to provide social 
services for the community. One of the more popular programs is the monthly senior luncheon 
that is averaging 75 to 100 participants. Ken- Rock also provides free tax preparation for 

A new and very successful program that Ken-Rock has landed is the food pantry. In the 
61 109 zip code, which is in the heart of Ken- Rock territory, there is a 14% poverty rate. 
Ken-Rock has setup a pantry where these people can come and receive groceries on a monthly 
basis. So far, an average of 70 people per month are being fed at the pantry(Guth.) 

Another program that Ken-Rock has landed is a child day care. "If you do not offer 
people a needed service in their neighborhood, they will go somewhere else to find it.*" With no 
child care in the Ken-Rock neighborhood that is exactly what people were doing. Since adding 
the day care, Ken-Rock is home to 75 to 90 kids daily(Guth.) 

From the humble beginnings of 13 women in a luncheon club, to the mam ways the 
Ken-Rock Community Center has influenced the life of this writer, to the main ways 
Ken-Rock assists people of Rockford everyday, the Ken-Rock Community is one ot" the 


Rockford areas best resources. 

Works Cited 

"Expansion Starts Today at Ken-Rock." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 10 

February. 2002 
Guthjohn. Personal interview. 19 March 2002 
"Ken-Rock Begins Construction." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 10 February. 

"Ken-Rock Center Maps Expansion." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 10 

February. 2002 

"Ken-Rock Community Center to Mark 25th Anniversary." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford 

Library. 10 February. 2002. 
"Ken-Rock Opens Drive For New Building." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 1 

February. 2002. 
"Ken-Rock Has New Set-up." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 10 February. 2002 
"New Twenty-Eight Thousand Dollar Addition Marks Ken-Rock Centers Progress." 
Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 10 February. 2002. 
"Plan Expansion." Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 10 February. 2002. 

picture vf SztP 

Highview Continues to Stand 

Tyna Bogan 

Spring Semester 2002 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 

T. Bogan 
May 13, 2002 
English 101 REM 

Dorothy Zenoffwas my first private-duty patient whom I had the honor of taking care of 
for about eight months, before she passed away. Dorothy was a patient with Alzheimer's 
Disease. When I met Dorothy she was in the late stages of the disease, which is where my heart is 
the most compassionate. Her daughter, Kathryn Zenoff, insisted that I should have known her 
before her illness. I am glad that I got to know her right where she was. I will never forget 
Dorothy's final days and what she said to me: "Baby girl, I am about to pass on to Eternity, but 
before I go I want you to know that you are an Angel!" It spoke blessings to my heart. Those 
words are embedded imbedded in my memory. 

Dorothy is important to this paper because of the topics I chose to write about. Her 
daughter says she was keen on education. It is evidenced in her children who are very prominent 
people here and in Chicago, with her grandchildren also in pursuit of higher ground than they. 

Finally, Dorothy showed me that my career in nursing can be in the private sector and as 
well as institutions. She showed me where my niche is. I dedicate this Archival Essay to the late 
Dorothy (Dottie) Zenoff. 

Tyna Bogan 

May 13, 2002 

English 101 RRM 

Highview Continues to Stand 

On a hill on the far northwest side of Rockford stands a beautiful two-story, red brick 
building which houses an organization, now named Highview Retirement Home. 

To get to Highview from the Winnebago County Courthouse, go west on West State 
Street, turn north on Central Avenue, turn left onto Kilburn Avenue, and then turn left on Safford 
Road. Highview Retirement Home is located at 4149 Safford Road, directly across from Safford 
Lockwood Park. The home is in an area of pastoral beauty with many trees, a walking path, 
flower beds and well manicured lawns. The cleanliness and quiet elegance of the home, the 
excellent cuisine and family-style service, combined with the helpfulness of the staff, contribute to 
the feeling of personal home life. 

In 1904, America did not have retirement homes, and had extremely limited senior living 
services. A family was expected to take care of its elderly members whether they were rich or 
poor. In response to a public need, friends of Mrs. Caroline Wyman, the widow of the man for 
whom Wyman Street was named, gave birth to what is now knowUas Highview Retirement Home. 
Mrs. Wyman's resources dwindled to nothing and she had no relatives to whom she could turn. 
Her friends, concerned over her situation, called attention to the lack of facilities in Winnebago 
County for caring for the aged. Members of the city's most prominent families who had fallen on 
hard times, as well as those less well-to-do. were in need of a home ("Plight of Prominent...*' 
Rockford Morning Star 1938). 

T. Bogan 

On July 7, 1904, a number of citizens convened at the Nelson House Hotel to discuss the 
project of establishing a home for the aged. The charter members were: G. Nordstrom Charles 
Sabin, Anna Taylor, Kate O'Connor, Mrs. M.B. St. John and Mrs. L.A. Weyburn (Highview 
News 1999). The committee selected a site: the home of former Rockford Mayor, S.P. 
Crawford. It was a large wood frame house at 408 North Horsman Street. The rental was $25 
per month. Sometime later, in July, 1905, the committee purchased the home for $6,500. At the 
beginning it housed 14 residents (Garson). 

The house formally opened on October 2, 1904. The name of the first home was the 
Winnebago County Home for the Aged. Maria Hobart was elected matron for one year 
(Highview News 1999). "It proved a veritable show day. Furniture provisions, clothing, checks 
and cash were received and the tables were laden with gifts from the generous people of Rockford 
and vicinity" (Church). 

When the founders leased the Crawford homestead, their goal was to provide shelter for 
the aged poor of Winnebago County. Residents had to be at least 65 years old and in good 
health. They had to reside in the county for the prior two years and have no family to take care of 
them. They had to pay a fee of $500, but they were guaranteed care as long as they lived ("Plight 
of Prominent... " Rockford Morning Star 1938). 

The home is chartered as a not-for-profit home owned by no one and is affiliated with no 
organizations and no churches. It is not supported by federal funds (Medicare) or stale welfare 
funds. Financial support is derived only from donations and room charges. A volunteer Board of 

T. Bogan 

Managers, later called the Board of Trustees, oversees the management of the home. Today, with 
a second site, Highview and Highview in the Woodlands have the capability to house 
approximately 103 residents. 

As time went on in the 1940s, the site expanded by the addition of an annex, named 
Sargent House in honor of a former president of the Board of Trustees ( Rockford Morning Star 
1945). The new building was built just north of the old building on Horsman Street and was a 
framed clapboard-sided building with remodeled interior decorations and exterior refinishings. A 
covered passageway connected the Sargent House with the older building. The purpose of the 
facility remained the same ( Rockford Morning Star 1950). 

In 1951, the Board changed the name of the home to Winnebago County Home for the 
Aged to differentiate from the County Home, now known as River Bluff Nursing Home 
( Highview News 1999). They did not modify its mission. 

The year 1954 saw a move to an entirely new site on Safford Road where the present 
building still stands. The new home was constructed by Holm-Page at a cost of $330,000 and 
covered two acres. It was built as a two-story stone and brick structure. It had room for 42 
residents, whereas the old home's capacity allowed only 27 persons. Thanks to the generosity of 
Mrs. Lena Lightcap, no public appeal for funds for construction or furnishings for the interior was 
needed. Special thanks also to Mr. And Mrs. Forrest Lyddon who donated the land in honor of 
their parents ("Work on $330,000..." Rockford Register Republic 1953). 

In the 1970s, the Board of Trustees decided to add a wing, which is known toda> as the 

T. Bogan 

Cousie Fox Health Center, at a cost of $282,600. The planning board voted tentatively to deny 
Highview permission to build a 1 5-bed addition unless they complied with various suggestions. 
They did and Highview was finally granted permission to build (Dieter). As a result of the 
generosity of Cousie Fox, the health center was named after him. 

The director of the home changed the name from Winnebago Home for the Aged to 
Highview Retirement Home in an effort to end confusion in the mind of the public about the 
home. Many persons still believed that the home was a tax-supported county institution. 
However, it is a privately-endowed sheltered care facility. Highview became licensed for both 
sheltered and intermediate care for its residents ( Highview News 1999). 

Highview added a specialized Alzheimer's unit in 1993 in order to care for residents with 
Alzheimer's Disease. A more skilled staff with training and experience was also employed 
( Highview News 1999). 

Finally, a second facility, at a different side was opened in Rockton, Illinois and named 
Highview in the Woodlands. It was built by Ringland- Johnson Construction at a projected cost of 
$4,673,980 (Rockton City Hall Building Permit Dept.). At the grand opening of the High\ie\v in 
the Woodlands in 1 999, Amy Praia, the Assisted Living Manager said, "The food was catered 
from Logli's in Rockford, there was a ton of it and it was pretty fancy. There was also a three- 
piece string trio that played under canopies outside. There was a horse-drawn bugg> that gave 
rides to everyone who came. There was also a ribbon cutting ceremony that recognized all of the 
people and volunteers who participated. There were hundreds of people flocking about the 


T. Bogan 

building, taking tours, and listening to the pianist in the lobby. Flowers were given to all the guest 
and the children were given balloons" (Praia Interview). 

It was the year 2000 when this writer came aboard the staff of Highview. I did not know 
Highview had so much history. I did my orientation at Highview in the Woodlands. I was 
captivated by the beauty of the interior. My thoughts were if I cannot live here, I sure would like 
to work here! 

Working at Highview provides me with an opportunity to be in close contact with people 
in need in the later stages of life. While observing the relationship of these older people who have 
kept their faith in God even in times of pain, physical and emotional, my own faith in God is 
strengthened. I often think about the 103 year old resident who prays for herself and her family, 
as well as the staff at Highview, every night. The beauty of the physical surroundings of 
Highview is reflected in the inner beauty of its residents and provides me with my purpose in life - 
to help them maintain their dignity and quality of life in their old age. 

In conclusion, Highview's beginnings resulted from the foresight and dedication of several 
Rockford philanthropists. It continues to grow, yet maintains the warm, caring atmosphere 
envisioned by the founders. Highview has endured the test of time with a commitment to care for 
the aged of Winnebago County. It still maintains a standard above the rest of the retirement 
facilities in Winnebago County. Highview looks to the future with its expanded site, and into the 
next century of caring for the aged in our community. 

T. Bogan 

Works Cited 

Church, Charles A "Historical sketch of 'Winnebago County Home for the Aged' now 

'Winnebago Home for the Aged' as recorded in 'Past and Present of the City of Rockford 

and Winnebago Co., 111." 1905. 
Dieter, Mary. "Home Finally Gets Go Ahead to Complete 15-bed Addition." Rockford 

Morning Star 20 Mar. 1977. 
Garson, Bill. "Of Many Things: Changing Addresses." Rockford Register Star 28 June 1954. 
"General Information about Highview Retirement Home." Highview News 17 Sept. 1991. 
"Highview Celebrates Their 95 th Anniversary." Highview News 1999. 
"Home Buys Residence." Rockford Morning Star 9 June 1945. 
Praia, Amy. Personal Interview: 1 Apr. 2002. 

"Renovation Is Completed At Home for Aged Annex." Rockford Morning Star 1 May 1938. 
Reporter Girl. "Plight of Prominent Local Woman Inspired Start of Home for Aged." Rockford 

Morning Star 1 May 1938. 
Rockton City Hall Building Department. 
"Work on $330,000 Home for the Aged Begins Next Week." Rockford Register Republic 1 1 

July 1953. 

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From Chaos To Connection 

Mike Clark 
Spring Simester 2002 
Rock Valley College 
English 101 

Clark 1 
From Chaos To Connection 

The Jefferson Street Bridge stands today as an easy way of safe passage across the 
Rock River, and a beautiful piece of artwork that has had different appearances 
through time. The bridge's beginnings stem from an uncertain beginning, and 
continue to an unbreakable landmark. 

Starting at Harlem High School, take Alpine Road south Harlem road. When you 
reach Harlem turn west onto it, and travel down Harlem for about two miles and 
then take a right onto North Second Street. From North Second take that for about 
10 minutes, passing Sinnissippi Park, and the YMCA. When the YMCA is 
reached keep an eye out because Jefferson Street is coming up. Take a right hand 
turn west onto Jefferson. The bridge is now in sight! Make sure to be careful 
because Jefferson Street is a one-way street. 

The bridge is a very large bridge, which has four lanes to drive in. The sound of 
boats can be heard underneath it. The top of the bridge is cement and has a 
walkway on either side of it. The sides of the bridge have steel railings. The firm 
cold touch of the steel is to keep people safely on the bridge. On either side of the 
river are large business buildings. The bridge is built on a very strong iron frame, 
and the base of the frame is set in concrete. 


Clark 2 

The behemoth bridge can be dated back to 1 928 when the city felt the increasing 
need for more access. Mayor Hailstorm and the City Council agreed that a new 
bridge was needed to decrease traffic problems. When the first drawings were 
being made the bridge was going to be called the Peach-Jefferson Street Bridge. 
This name came from the fact that it would join Peach and Jefferson Street. There 
were certain requirements that had to be met by the engineers. State requirements 
stated that the bridge had to have a minimum clearance height of 13 feet according 
to the Rockford Register Star . 

The engineering plans also contained a viaduct. Information indicates that the 
viaduct was a type of off ramp from the bridge. The viaduct began midway across 
the bridge on the west side and connected independently to the east bank just past 
Madison Street. This was not a very popular idea with a lot of people. There was 
such a large amount of people that a judge by the name of R. K. Welsh supported 
the people and filed a claim against the city. The claim filed by the people 
prevented any construction at that time of the viaduct. After many months of court 
dates and appeals, the viaduct was cleared for construction. When the first 
drawings were being made the bridge was going to be called the Peach-Jefferson 
Street Bridge. This name came from the fact that it would join peach and Jefferson 
Street. According to an article with Scholstrums there were certain requirements 
that had to be met by the engineers. 


Clark 3 

To reach the requirements this meant that 50% of the space between each arch of 
the bridge had to be 13 feet above water. The distance between each arch was 100 
feet. That meant 50 feet between each arch had to be higher then 1 3 feet. The 
arches were crafted onto beams emerging from the ice-covered water. The arches 
forms where wooden and strengthened with steel, and were later poured with 

There was a slight 3.3 % grade to the bridge to help with drainage and support. 
Strangely, the frame of the bridge was being built before the approaches were even 
decided upon. There was a very large debate on which plan should be used for the 
approach. Things like cost and efficiency were the main consideration for the 
eastern approach. After long debate the original plans were chosen. 

When someone thinks about how useful a bridge can be and the advantages it will 
provide, the idea of it being unwanted is seldom thought of. In the case of the 
Jefferson Street Bridge there was a great deal people that did not want it. The 
location that was chosen had people that had already made homes and lives on that 
location. Many people were forced to seek new lives elsewhere. During the 
construction of the steel giant there were also lawsuits filed against the city for 
destruction of property. There were four lawsuits filed which damage value 
totaling $235,000. The homeowners won their case. 

Clark 4 

According to the City of Rockford homepage construction was completed in 1 932 
and was slowly opened to traffic. Looking at the sleeping giant, a person wouldn't 
know of the magnitude of events lurking in its past. The beginning starting with a 
need for connectivity, and the whirlwind of activities initiated from that need. The 
rigid flowing work of art changing from generation to generation will remain a 
central point of activity and for many people a symbol of emotion. 

The book Rockford: Big Town Little City by Pat Cunningham says in 1958 there 
came a need for repair of the once invulnerable structure. With time, there had 
come obvious marks of stress and disrepair. The paved road had begun to decay 
and larger holes had started to appear. There were also signs of decay on the 
weight bearing arches. City Council had asked architects to begin drawing up 
plans and submitting bids for reconstruction 

An article in the Rockford Register Star indicated that Harry Cordes was hired to 
draw the final plans to be used. Cordes and his assistants reached the deadline they 
were given by pulling a few all-nighters. Cordes planes were thrown out quidd) 
after being submitted. The Council thought that they were way too pricey. The 
plans that were submitted by Cordes were very elaborate. They included even 
change that was needed after surveying the decay of the bridge. 1 le had come to 
the conclusion that the only parts that would be able to be saved were the pillars 
that still remain today. The plans also included raising the bridge, about a foot in 

Clark 5 

most places, to give it added clearance. It was decided that the approaches to the 
bridge were not tall enough to allow larger trucks or other such things to pass 

City Council searched for cheaper ways to repair the bridge that was not falling 
into great disrepair. Experts that were surveying the bridge had begun to fear that 
it would collapse. To keep the surface of the bridge useable the city had paid for it 
to be repaved. The cost of the temporary band-aid was around the range of 1 5,000. 
The pressure for the city to choose plans increased. It became apparent that the 
only choice available was the original plans submitted. 

When actual construction started it went very slowly. The company hired had 
originally planned to remove the bridge in large chunks. When they began to 
demolish the surface for removal the larger sections crumbled and began to fall 
into the icy December River. It was quickly decided to demolish the bridge 
allowing it to fall into the river and then remove the debris later. 
The structure was stripped down to the cement pillars rising out of the soft 
riverbed. The new construction quickly began. The bridge was raised several feet 
and a walkway was also added. This was to allow people to travel from one bank 
to the other on foot. While construction was happening on the Jefferson Street 
Bridge, all of the traffic was diverted to the other bridges. This caused the 
occasional traffic jam. Rock ford: Big Town little City stated that when 


Clark 6 

construction was complete they opened one lane to ease traffic onto the new 

Since the time of the original construction there has been very little changes made 
in the bridge. The surface of the road has been repaved, but other then that there 
has been very little changes. The present bridge is a completely new bridge 
compared to the bridge of old. The bridge was first constructed in 1926 and was 
reconstructed in 1958. Is there a possibility of a reconstruction in this generation? 

Works Cited 
Bridges, Rockford Public Library. Rockfordiana file: 

Rockford Public Library. No Dates. 
City of Rockford, Illinois. Rockford Illinois Home Page. 

(6 March 2002) 
Clark, Mike Base of East Bank 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike Entrance to Walkway 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike Looking Down the Walkway 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike Looking Over the Water 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike The Eastern Approach 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike The Strong Cement Arches 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike Resting Area 

(30 April 2002) Picture 
Clark, Mike Walkway and Bridge 

(30 April 2002) Picture 

Cunningham, Pat Rockford: Big Town Little City. 

Sport Publishing. 2001 
Omanson, BJ Bridges 

(6 March 2002) 

Rock River, Rockford Public Library. Rockfordiana file: 

Rockford Public Library. No Dates. 
Thom, Craig Jefferson Street Bridge 

(6 March 2002) http : //www. thom . org/gal lery/unnat/ILRFj efifer son/ 

Thom,Craig Bridge at Night 
(1994) Picture 

The Eastern Approach 

The Strong Cement Arches 


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ii ii 
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Base of East Bank 

Looking Over The Water 

Walkway and Bridge 

l.ookinu Oown The Walk\va\ 

Resting Area 

Entrance to Walkway 

Bridge at Night 

Old picture of Bridge 


The Growth of JMK Nippon 


Tan Nguyen 

English 101, Section RRM 

Professor: Scott Fisher 

1 May 2002 

Nguyen 1 


The Growth of JMK Nippon 

The JMK Nippon restaurant was started at a strip mall on Mulford Road in 1 984, by the 
Kobayashi family, who was originally from Japan. Mas and John Kabayashi have created an 
extremely successful business. With continual progress, they have gone from renting a little 
space in a strip mall to their own huge, beautiful place, from having just a few employees to 
thirty-five workers on duty each night and from being an unknown Japanese restaurant to 
Rockford's most popular restaurant. The author of this research paper has been employed at JMK 
Nippon for almost five years. JMK Nippon is his favorite to place work, compared to many 
others restaurants where he was employed. 

To get to JMK Nippon is very easy. From 1-90, exit to Rockford on Harrison Avenue. 
Summer is the best time to travel, with the temperature between 70-80 degrees. There will be 
noise coming from Magic Water, which reminds travelers that Rockford is only a few minutes 

From the Road Ranger Gas Station, where most people stop before they hit the high\\a> . 
turn right at the second stop light at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Perryville Road. 
Perryville Road is a four-lane road that runs north and south on the eastside of the city. On 
Perryville Road, there is Cherry Vale Mall, the biggest shopping mall in Rockford. Chen) Yale 
is only six miles from the destination, so be sure to drive slowly because there are main dri\ ers 
pulling in and out. After passing the stop light at Cherry Vale, the third slop light is last State 
Street, which is Rockford's all time busiest street. Borders. Best Bun. Hooters, etc. are on the 
left, and on the right are Lowes, Saturn, Dae Woo. etc. 

Nguyen 2 

At the bottom of a slight hill, is Guilford Road. Continuing north, there are houses on both sides 
of the road. The next stop is Spring Creek Road and a black board with white letters that read 
"JMK Nippon Japanese Restaurant." 

The average number of customers every night is approximately 500 people from Monday 
through Thursday and 600 to 700 on the weekends. The author has been working at JMK 
Nippon for almost five years and has witnessed that all the customers highly enjoy the 
entertainment that is shown as their food is cooked in front of them. At work, time goes quickly 
as customers rush in and out, and tips are the author's favorite part of working at JMK Nippon. 
Each server has two tables to wait on, but those two tables keep each server very busy because 
each table seats an average of eight to twelve people. Moreover, at the end of the night there is 
free dinner ready for all employees. It is an excellent job for students to earn extra money for 
their many needs. 

In 1998, Mas and John Kobayashi decided to build a larger restaurant because the 
reservations were always booked on Fridays and Saturdays. The construction of the new 
restaurant on Perryville Road began in November 1999 and was constructed by a firm from Oak 
Park, a suburb of Chicago called Folz Electric, Inc. (Folz). The architect was Bruce Johnston and 
the restaurant was completed on August 25, 2000, and was originally open on September 1 . 
2000. The estimated value of the restaurant from the Winnebago ( 'ounty Properly Record 
System Detail Property Information is $ 1 ,947.048. 

Nguyen 3 

This land was vacant before the new JMK Nippon was built. Moreover, almost all of the 
land on North Perryville Road was vacant until 1998. In 2000, Perry vi lie Road started to 
construct new buildings. From the author's knowledge, sixty percent of the businesses on 
Perryville Road were built after 1999. However, it took approximately one year to build JMK 
Nippon. The pond on the north of the restaurant was added a year later after the restaurant 
opened because the owner decided to serve customers on the deck. John Kobayashi noted, "The 
purpose of the pond is to create the thought of a higher class restaurant" ( John, the owner). 

Many customers highly enjoy the beauty of the restaurant and make a lot of comments, 
such as pretty, classy, and big. Khoa Nguyen, the author's friend, said when he first visited JMK 
Nippon, "This restaurant is the fanciest restaurant in Rockford, and the way the chefs cook is 
very entertaining" (Khoa). Takushi is a chef who has been working at JMK Nippon since it first 
opened in 1984. His thought of new changes at the new restaurant compared to the old restaurant 
that used to be located on Mulford Road were, "JMK Nippon has grown much more then my 
expectation. The number of customers has highly increased and the number of employees is 
much higher, compared to when we first opened on Mulford Road. In contrast, our stylo o\ 
cooking has not changed since the restaurant first opened" (Takushi). As the author recalled 
when he was working at the old restaurant on Mulford Road in 1998. the restaurant onl\ had 
sixteen tables. Each table was old and damaged by scratches. 

The hardest thing for this author to forget about the old restaurant on Mulford Road is the 
temperature of the restaurant during the summer. The restaurant got very hot because all sixteen 
grills sometimes reached about 120 degrees. 

Nguyen 4 

Each grill was built in the middle with a wooden bar around it, and was about three feet tall. 
Customers sat around the grill to watch the chef cook their meals. The chefs were sweating as 
they cooked, and the servers were sweating from head to toe as they served soups, salads and 
drinks. At the end of the night everyone felt dirty and greasy. 

Today, at the new restaurant, everything is much better. There are twenty brand new 
tables (grills), which are very smooth and shiny. The temperature of the restaurant is perfectly 
cool. As a matter of fact, customers sometimes complain that the temperature is cold. In 
addition, the new restaurant has many more decorations, whether it is from the interior or 
exterior, such as the deck, pond, and lights. In the interior, the tables and chairs, samurai 
uniform, art, and waterfall are all new. The waterfall is located in the middle of the dining room, 
enclosed in a giant glass case. One of the customers, Cindy Nguyen, said, "When I look at the 
waterfall, it relieves stress, and it really relaxes my mind'" (Cindy). This is true, after all, 
because that is how the author and every other customer feels when they are looking at it. 

JMK Nippon has changed dramatically in most ways, including the growth of customers 
and the new building owned by the Kobayashis. JMK Nippon has been in business for eighteen 
years and there are more and more customers daily. 

Now that you know all the information of the restaurant, you should stop b\ to \ isit 
because JMK Nippon is a restaurant that, once you stop by, you will alwa\ s wants to come back. 
It is unlike many other place, because of the designed of the building, the st> le of cooking, and 
the karaokee bar. JMK Nippon is the place to go when you arc looking for a place to go out tor 
dinner, for drinks, and for fun. 

Kbu-V 2 ^ 

This picture was taken from southeast side of the restaurant on April 27. 2001 
By Folz Electric, Inc. 





fes is the JMK Nippon Restaurant sign. 
This picture was taken by the Author on April, 2002. 

Nau^zn ■) 

This is the Entrance of the restaurant. 
Taken by the author on April, 2002. 


m 8 

ij»i* : " 

Taken by the author on *P 

This is on the Northeast corner of the restaurant. 

You'll see this side as you're coming from North Perryville. 

Taken by the author on April, 2002. 

Uq^ym ({ 

Klf^an 10 

This is on the West side of the restaurant. 

This picture was taken from the south. 

You'll see this side of the restaurant as you drive on Perryville Road. 

Taken by the Author on April, 2002. 



^las^n II 


be # 

This is on the Southwest corner of the restaurant. 
This picture was taken by the author on April, 2002. 

irmfl w**n*~*y: ■■. \ ■ ■ 

• -ri-7 •m 

\\Jcyj.^&n ll 

li^is on thWortl^side of the restaurant. 
Taken by tlJuthor oKpril; 2002. 

This is on the North side of the restaurant. 
Taken by the author on April, 2002. 

I . ' 

Nguyen 13 

Works Cited 

Brandy, Unknown last name. Personal Interview. 3 Mar. 2002. 

Cates, Jason. Personal Interview. 3 April. 2002. 

JMK Nippon. Photo by Folz Electric, Inc. 27 April. 2001. 
< mk_nippon_restaurant.ntm> 

JMK Nippon. Photo by the Author. April, 2002. 
Nguyen, Cindy. Personal Interview. 28 Mar. 2002. 
Nguyen, Khoa. Personal Interview. 29 Mar. 2002. 
Nguyen, Tan. Author knowledge. 5 April. 2002. 
Winnebago County Property Records Systems. 6 Mar. 2002. 
Zsuke, Takushi. Personal Interview. 30 Mar. 2002. 


Giving Honor to a Former Alderman 

Brandi DeShawn Brown 

Rock Valley College 

English 101- DX 

May 9, 2002 

Brown 1 

Brandi Brown 
English 101- DX 
Professor Scott Fisher 
April 25, 2002 

Giving Honor to a Former Alderman 

The John Devereueawax Playground sits behind Mcintosh Elementary School in 

Rockford, Illinois. The playground looks as if it was built just yesterday, even though it 

was designed and built almost eight years ago. When Debra Dimke became Mcintosh's 

new principal in the fall of 1991, she pushed for the school to receive a new playground. 

She felt the old playground was depressing and she wanted her students to have a 

playground that they would enjoy and be proud of (Debra Dimke). 

The old playground sat on the hill behind the school on a faded blacktop that was 

cracking. The equipment was peeling, fading, and out of date. There was only one slide 

that could blind someone if the sunrays were shining off the slide's reflection, three pull 

up bars that were side by side by their height, and a jungle gym that was four feet tall and 

very boring. Mrs. Dimke noticed there needed to be some improvement made to this old 


In Mrs. Dimke's first year as Mcintosh's new principal, she pushed for new 

playground equipment. It was during the first week of school when Debra met Alderman 

John Devereueawax. Alderman Devereueawax greeted Debra to congratulate and 

welcome her to Mcintosh. John didn't realize that he was the first as a parent and a 

representative of the city to wish Debra well on her journey at Mcintosh. After that first 

impression of kindness from Alderman Devereueawax, Debra remained friends with him. 

John invited Debra to tour the neighborhoods near the school, so she could have 

knowledge of where a majority of her students lived. John had two daughters. Javcllc 

Brown 2 

and Domonique attending Mcintosh when Debra began her term as the principal. John 
had five of his seven children attend Mcintosh throughout the end of the eighties and 
through the nineties. Through out the semesters, Debra witnessed John's involvement to 
Javelle and Domonique's classrooms, and Mcintosh's programs and activities (Debra 

Alderman John Devereueawax served the west side of Rockford with pride for ten 
years. He developed a great vision for Rockford's west side. He envisioned a city of 
peace and prosperity for everyone in his neighborhood. John rebuilt and cleaned parks 
by starting the Concerned Citizens for a Better West Side. This job opened doors for 
people that needed a part-time job for the summer. Many youth made Concerned Citizen 
for a Better West Side their first job and returned every summer to work. He listened to 
all negative complaints about the west side and would turn them positive. In 1 990, he 
took action to change the name of North Second Street to the Martin Luther King Drive. 
Also in 1990, John was the chairman on Pastor Perry Bennett team to build the Perry 
Bennett Educational Building, so kids could play safely indoors and learn the word of 
God in a safe environment. Close to the beginning of the school year in 1990, John 
teamed up with Rockford's Board of Education becoming the Coordinator of Rockford's 
Minorities to take action with the young people that were continuously in trouble in the 
Rockford Public Schools. Alderman John Devereueawax was an inspiration to many 
people and an example for anybody running for office, or to those who don't mind to 
give a helping hand (John Devereueawax). 

John was dedicated to his work for the city and his family. On late Sunday night 
in November of 1991, a sudden stroke struck John affecting his left hemisphere and right 

Brown 3 

side ligaments. With intense physical therapy, John was up walking and writing with his 
left hand in two months. He still served as Thirteenth- Ward alderman, and worked with 
troubled youth through the Board of Education and was just taking things easy. 

The 1993 campaign for elections was soon approaching. John Devereueawax, 
along with Ann Thompson, who was running for Seventh- Ward alderwoman, Alfred 
Simon, who was running for county board member District Number Twelve, were just 
few of the candidates for the west side. Clarence "Red" Foot was running against John 
for the thirteenth ward alderman seat. Clarence told people to vote for him because he 
didn't have a health problem. On February 19, 1993, John Devereueawax was re-elected 
of the Thirteenth Ward overseer (Brandi Brown; John Devereueawax). 

Less than a month after celebrating victory over Clearance Foot, and overcoming 
his first stroke in 1991, and showing much improvement of not being defeated by his first 
stroke, John suffered a massive stroke while attending a meeting about the Perry Bennett 
Educational Building at Macedonia Baptist Church. Immediately upon arrival at 
Rockford Memorial Hospital, doctors had to perform an emergency open-heart surgery. 
For three and a half months John lay in a coma. John stayed in Rockford Memorial for a 
total of six months. During the first two months, John resigned from his Thirteen-Ward 
seat and his position as the Coordinator of Minorities and Community Services for the 
Rockford School District. This stroke affected both hemispheres of the brain leaving his 
ligaments on his left side and his right leg paralyzed ("Better Everyday"; Brandi Brown). 

During this time at Mcintosh, Mrs. Dimke's request for a new playground was 
granted. She told gym teacher Tina Sunset and her student council to begin to select 
playground equipment for the new playground. The Rockford Park District began to 

Brown 4 

develop the area of the new playground at the beginning of summer break in 1 994. Mrs. 
Dimke wanted the new playground to be built near the school in the back. The location 
of the new site of where the new playground was going to be was on the left-hand side of 
the school, near the entrance. It took five months to complete the new playground (Debra 

When the new school year began in 1994, the students had to play on the old 
playground for one month until the new playground was open for them to play on. The 
construction workers still needed to put the tree trimmings inside the playground area, 
add a sign and then clean up all their port-a-potties and other messes to complete a long 
awaited playground. 

One thing very important was missing to complete this anticipated playground, 
and that was a name. It was up to Mrs. Dimke to create a name for the playground. She 
began to think of something that represented Mcintosh. Then former Alderman John 
Devereueawax came to her mind. Debra remembered that John was the first person to 
welcome and congratulate her to Mcintosh. He gave her a tour her around the 
neighborhoods of the school so she could have witness of where her students lived and 
how they lived. She witnessed John's involvement to the school's activities and the 
community. She thought of John's two daughters that were attending Mcintosh at this 
time. Debra then called her husband Ted Dimke and told him that she was thinking about 
re-naming Mcintosh's playground to the John Devereueawax Playground, fed agreed 
with her decision to dedicate Mcintosh's playground to John Devereueawax. Mrs. 
Dimke then made the announcement to the school that their new playground would be 
named the John Devereueawax Playground (Debra Dimke). 

Brown 5 

According to John, Webbs Norman, of the Rockford Park District, made the 
arrangements for the ceremony to dedicate the playground to him. The youngest 
daughter Domonique Devereueawax remembered how she was so proud of her dad after 
hearing the announcement that the playground was going to be named after her father 
(Domonique Devereueawax). 

To make the playground complete there needed to be a sign. When the first sign 
was brought to Mcintosh, Domonique was pulled out of her class to make sure that the 
last name was spelled correctly. Domonique noticed that the last name was not spelled 
correctly, so they dug it up. A couple of days later, Domonique was pulled out of class to 
check the sign to make sure the spelling of Devereueawax was right before the 
construction workers added the sign to the playground. Once again, the last name was 
misspelled. The following week Domonique remembered being pulled out of class again 
to check the spelling of their last name. Finally, they had the spelling right. The 
construction workers then placed the sign into the ground (Domonique Devereueawax). 
In big, black, bold letters the sign read: "The John Devereueawax Playground- A 
Cooperative Effort of the Mcintosh School, Rockford Board of Education & The 
Rockford Park District." 

On a sunny warm day on October 20, 1994, the Rockford community gathered at 
Mcintosh Elementary School to dedicate Mcintosh's new playground to former 
Alderman John Devereueawax. Mrs. Debra Dimke, along with Superintendent Ronald 
Epps, State Representee Doug Scott, Webbs Norman of the Rockford Park District. 
Gwen Robinson, who represented and spoke for Mayor Charles Box. Penny 
Devereueawax, who spoke for her husband John Devereueawax, and Flora White were 

Brown 6 

few of the many speakers and guests for this activity. Ronald Epps, Debra Dimke, and 
John's family were involved with the ribbon cutting (Brandi Brown; WIFR Video;. 

After the ribbon cutting, it was time to pull the dark blue sheet off to expose the 
sign that took two tries to get the correct spelling of Devereueawax. It was on the count 
of three when all the Devereueawax children pulled the dark blue sheet from over the 
sign to reveal The John Devereueawax Playground. Penny Devereueawax embraced 
John and the students, teachers, preacher, alderman, alderwoman, and the community 
applauded for this blessed occasion (Brandi Brown; WIFR Video). 

Then the focus turned to the anxious children lined up ready to play on the new 
playground for the first time. Watching the children enjoy themselves brought joy to 
John Devereueawax (John Devereueawax). WIFR interviewed Penny Devereueawax 
before the ceremony began. Penny was asked how is today so special? Her response 
was, "This day is very special for personal reasons and community reasons. Personally, 
this is our neighborhood. We are pleased to see what's happening here. When you think 
about kids and playgrounds and think about playgrounds are the places to shape adult 
minds and adult ways, it's important to improve the community and provide such a 
dynamic accessible playground as this on that we have here at Mcintosh School" (Penn\ 
Devereueawax; WIFR). The interviewer also asked Penny, why is the name important? 
Penny answered, "It is important of the name because that's my husband's name. And 
the honor and the respect that the school and park districts and community would show 
for him speaks to show love and that makes it special for us" (Penny Devereueaw a\; 
WIFR Video). 


Brown 7 

Anna Alexander was a teacher assistant at Mcintosh for nine years. She has 
known John for more than fifteen years. She recalls to the day of the ceremony to 
dedicate the playground to John and how she felted to know John. She says, "Mr. 
Devereueawax is a good man. He has always been a supporter for the black community. 
He's a role model for anybody wanting to be a leader. There should not be any reason 
anyone should envy this man when all he did was help people. I feel dedicating this park 
to John was Rockford's way of saying thank you for all the work that he has done. I wish 
there were more John Devereueawax' s to serve us here in Rockford" (Anna Alexander). 

On this day of dedication, John says he remained humbled. It was his first time 
attending a ceremony since his stroke in March 1993. He was glad to see co-workers, 
preachers, friends, teacher, students, and the west side community supporting this 
dedication of honor. John appreciated every moment of seeing and hearing people whose 
lives he touched. He's glad to know people respect and acknowledge the work he did for 
the west side community (John Devereueawax). 

To this day there has been no expansion to the John Devereueawax Playground. 
The playground looks as if it was built just yesterday, even though it was designed by the 
Mcintosh student council and built only eight years ago. Jawan Bailey enjoys coming to 
the J.D. Playground because, "Nobody fights or argues at this park and you don't have to 
cross a busy street like School Street to get to J.D. Playground like you have to do to get 
to Franz Park" (Jawan Bailey). 

Brandi Brown recalls her two-year-old son and twcnty-month-old daughter run 
freely over the playground. Watching her son slide down the twister slide and \\ alk back 
up the slide made her wonder, who taught him that? The daughter was not excited about 

Brown 8 

any of the slides or swings. She didn't want her mother or brother to play with her. She 
preferred to run around in the woodchips so she could kick and throw them at her mother. 
Brandi was happy that the forty-five minutes her children spent at the playground, wore 
them out. This playground is adaptive for toddlers, which makes it a convenient park 
(Brandi Brown). 

The ceremony and the dedication of the park was a blessing to John 
Devereueawax and family. From a daughter's point of view, the family felt it was time 
for the city of Rockford to honor a man that served his city with pride for ten years. It 
was time for Rockford to give honor where honor was due. Rockford owed John for 
caring for a side of town many citizens do not care about (Brandi Brown). What a 
blessing it was for Debra Dimke to think about John Devereueawax and his 
accomplishments he made for the west side community to name Mcintosh Elementary 
School's new playground to the John Devereueawax Playground. 


"Alderman enters hospital." Rockford Register Star. 17 March 1993. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Alderman stable after stroke-like symptoms." Rockford Register Star. 1 9 November 

1991. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Alderman quits due to health." Rockford Register Star. 25 May 1993. Rockfordiana 

Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Alexander, Anna. Personal interview. 25 March 2002. 
Bailey, Jawan. Personal interview. 23 March 2002. 
Barrie, Vance. Personal interview. 21 February 2002. 
"Better Every Day." Rockford Register Star. 9 July 1995. Rockfordiana Files. 

Rockford Public Library. 
Brown, Brandi. Personal experiences. 20 October 1994. 
Burt, Brad. "Honor for Formal Alderman." Rockford Register Star 21 October 1994, 

local section B. 
Ceremony Dedication Service at Mcintosh School, John with wife and children. 

Photographer unknown. 20 October 1994. 
Ceremony Dedication Service at Mcintosh School, John with wife and Flora White. 

Photographer unknown. 20 October 1994. 
Devereueawax, Domonique. Personal interview. 27 February 2002. 
Devereueawax, John. Personal interview. 27 February 2002. 
Devereueawax, John. Personal interview. 04 April 2002. 
Dimke, Debra. Telephone interview. 25 February 2002. 


Moore, Bob. "John Devereueawax Playground Dedication." WIFR 23-Video October 

BRAD BURT /Try; RcCtMC St.l 

Honor for former alderman # -3* -if- 

John Devereueawax gets a hug from his 6-year-old daughter, paid by the Rockford Park District. Parents also donated money 

i.Domonique/onThursday.afterthe < grxveiJingo.f,theiSign jr ^>;.; ;,,;... ^towar.d.the projects, said former principal Debbie.Dimke, who u£& 
dedicating the new Mcintosh School' playground to" the former • : ^pushed for aplayground there as long as threeYearsagbi^'I^Trt' 
alderman. Devereueawax left the City Council last year after hope it will give him a little bit of comfort that people appreciate 

suffering a stroke. Most of the $70,000 construction cost was all that he's done for them.'' Dimke said. 



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Alderman stable after 
stroke-like symptoms 

■ In good spirits': John L. 

Devereueawax IE was taken to 
the hospital after complaining 
of a tightness in his chest. 

Rockford Aid. John L. Devereueawax 
HI was in serious, but stable, condition at 
3cK^o^r4-MemoriaL.Hc>s^ta^e^teriay t _ 

afteFHaving what his wife called "stroke- 
like symptoms." X? -^^ //-/f-9/, /& 

Penny Devereueawax said her 38-year- 
old husband began complaining of tight- 
ness in his chest Sunday at about 11 pjn. 

Rockford Fire Department officials said 

_ they responded to Devereueawax's call to 

911 at 12:11 a.m. yesterday and took him 

to Rockford Memorial Hospital shortly 


Devereueawax's wife said doctors have 
not performed surgery on the alderman 
and he was having diffi culty speaking and 
moving one of his arms. 

"John's in good spirits, but he's more 
concerned about his children and how 
they are doing," she said. 

She said their seven children were 
taking the news as well as could be 
expected. "They are doing fine," she said. 

The Rev. Joseph Turner, pastor emeri- 
tus of Peoples Community Church in 
Rockford, prayed with Devereueawax's 
wife a few feet from the alderman's 
hospital bed. 

"We prayed to God for help for John 
and for his family," he said 

Devereueawax, D-13th, is in his third 
term as alderman. He is chairman of the 
city's Planning and Development Com- 
mittee and is employed by the Rockford 
School Board as coordinator of minority 
community services. 

Aid. David P. Johnson, R-4th. vice 
chairman of Planning and Development, 
said he will take over the chairman's 
responsibilities until his return. 

"He's a good man and I'm praying for 
him," he said. "I'm sure all of us in the 
Council are." 


stroke in '91 

B Condition undisclosed: 

At family's request, hospital 
declined to provide specifics 
about Aid. John 
Devereueawax is doing. _ 

ROCKFORD — Aid. John Deve- 
reueawax HI, D-13th, was in the 
intensive care unit at Rockford Mem- 
orial Hospital last night. 

A hospital spokeswoman — where 
the alderman was taken by ambulance 
yesterday morning — would not dis- 
close the nature of Devereueawax's 
condition or why he was taken there. 

"His family has requested no additio- 
nal information be given out," said 
Helen Brooks, the hospital's public 
relations director. 

Devereueawax, 39, was hospitalized 
Nov. 17, 1991, when he had a stroke. 
Devereueawax was discharged from 
the hospital six weeks later and was 
placed on a physical rehabilitation 
schedule, -f ~^- * ~'7- 93/& 
Rockford Fire Department officials 

said they dispatched an ambulance to 
Macedonia Baptist Church, 1720 Mor- 
gan St., at about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to 
pick up the alderman. 

The Rev. Perry Bennett, the church's 
pastor, said an ambulance was called 
when Devereueawax began to com- 
plain that he was feeling ill. 

"We didn't think it was a good idea 
for him to drive himself to a hospital. 
He was alert and awake when they 
showed up but he wasn't feeling very 
well," Bennett said. 

Bennett said the alderman had been 
there for a personal meeting. 

Devereueawax has been a City 
Council member for 10 years. He 
defeated two primary opponents in the 
Feb. 23 city election. The alderman 
faces no opponent in the April 20 
general election.. 

Some of Devereueawax's City Coun- 
cil colleagues said they began to get 
phone calls about his hospitalization in 
the early afternoon. 

"I'm waiting like even-one else for 
details. I heard about what happened 
and it's unfortunate," Aid. Victory 
Bell, D-oth. said. 


B Served 10 years: 

John Devereueawax 
resigned his 13th Ward 
seat last night in a letter 
presented to the city by 
his wife. 

ROCKFORD — Penny Deve- 
reueawax ended more than two 
months of speculation over her 
husband's health Monday night 
with three terse paragraphs. 

"After careful consultation with 
my husband and his doctors, it 
appears that John will not be able 
to resume the full duties of alder- 
man in the foreseeable future," 
Rockford Mayor Charles Box 
quoted from a letter written by the 
alderman's wife. 

"Therefore, we are respectfully 
requesting the City Council to 
declare a vacancy in this office 
due to John's disability." 

With that, Aid. John Devereuea- 
wax III, D-13th, resigned his post, 
ending a 10-year political career 
on the City Council. He was 
hospitalized March 16. His family 
directed hospital authorities not 
to release any information about 
Devereueawax's condition. 

Council members accepted the 
news quietly, and the usual back- 
ground murmurings in the council 
chambers faded to complete si- 
lence.^ -ft**- S "^ S~-f 3, f* 
"We continue to remain hopeful 
of John's full 
However, his 
may well be a 
long process," 
Box contin- 
ued. "We be- 
lieve that by 
making this 
request the 

, , A \ „ h „ best interests 

Aid. John ,. ,, ... 

Devereueawax ^f^ 

res.gnsh.s V Vard and the 

council post dt y of Rock . 

ford will be best served." 

Those were the only words 
Devereueawax's family shared 
with the public Monday. Penny 
Devereueawax later declined 
further comment. 

The council voted to declare 
Devereueawax's seat vacant, start- 
ing the replacement process. Most 

of the council members added 
their regrets and well wishes as 
the vote was taken. 

"John was a good friend and an 
asset to the City Council," said 
Aid. Dave Johnson, R4th. "We all 
hope that he's able to come back 
from this and recover. This is not a 
way someone should leave the 

Box said he and Bell visited 
Monday afternoon with Deve- 
reueawax and his family at Rock- 
ford Memorial Hospital Monday 
afternoon, where the decision that 
Devereueawax would resign was 

Neither Box nor Bell would say 
Monday why the alderman was 
admitted to the hospital in mid- 

Devereueawax, 39, was hospita- 
lized with a stroke Nov. 19, 1991, 
which kept him in the hospital for 
six weeks. 

Box will choose who will take 
Devereueawax's place on the 
council. Any registered voter liv- 
ing in the 13th VVard is eligible, if 
he or she wants to apply. 

"I'll be taking resumes from' 
prospective candidates for the 
seat, until June 7," Box said- 
Box said he'd conduct candidate 
interviews before making his deci- 
sion. The mayor's choice would 
then go to the City Council for 

A special election also will be 
held in the 13th Ward two years 
from now. 

Box said the two months 
between Devereueawax's hospita- 
lization and his resignation was 
understandable, given the nature 
of the alderman's illness. 

'It was a very tough decision." 
Box said. "It was just a matter of 
when will he come back, and the 
rehabilitation is going to take too 
long."/f-sW, s-2-r-f^, </# 

Box said he received several 
phone calls from 13th Ward con-, 
stituents, who said they feit they 
lacked a voice on the council. Bell 
said he was sorry* things had to 
work out as they did. 

"We're all disappointed and 
saddened," Bell said. "This is. 
probably best for the residents of- 
the ward, and the city." 




Former alderman 
John Devereueawax 

is preparing to 
re-enter public life 

ROCKFORD — "Javelle!" 
Sitting in his wheel- 
chair, John Devereueawax 
hollers to his 12-year-old daugh- 
ter, who is playing upstairs. She 
scampers down as if she had 
been waiting for the call. 

These days, Devereueawax 
favors sweat pants, T-shirts and 
sneakers to a suit and tie. His 
goatee and mustache, as always, 
are neatly trimmed. His intense 
eyes shine behind his glasses. 

He looks at his daughter as 
she explains how their lives 
have changed since he suffered 
a massive stroke two years ago. 
The stroke ended his 10-year 
career as a west-side alderman, 
his 20 years of public service. 
The stroke crippled his legs, his 
left arm and his speech. But his 
mind and his spirit were 

The family's life is slower 
now, especially considering the 
pace they kept before the stroke. 

"He's home a lot more," 
Javelle explained. "We do more 
things here." 

She said her dad doesn't take 
the children to the parks as 
much. Instead of attending 
Macedonia Baptist Church each 
Sunday, Devereueawax prays at 
home while the children go to 
Sunday school. 

Physical and speech therapy 
have replaced Devereueawax's 
meetings and public appear- 
ances. £„ <^ttr \~q~%S, I ft 

He is adamant about the 
therapy. He believes his body 
will fully recover, but his thera- 
pists predict slight improve- 
ment. He patiently prepares for 

oubhc service. 

''Every day," Devereueawax 

He swallows hard and starts 


"Better every day." 

Register Star articles tell has 

■ March 16, 1982: John 
Devereueawax hopes to revital- 
ize block clubs in Rockford to 
help minority and low-income 
people organize themselves. 

Tve seen what good things 
can come of it," said the 28-year- 
old native of Brandon, Miss., 
who is an org aniz er of the 
Rockford Community Alliance. 


Age: 41 

Family: Married to sec- 
ond wife, Penny, since 
1985; seven children, 
Andre, 19, Johnny, 17, 
Brandi, 17, Marie, 15, 
Javelle, 12, Domonique, 9, 
Jonathan, 7. 

Education: Bachelor's 
degree in political science 
from Jackson State, 
Jackson, Miss., in 1976. 

Political offices: 
Alderman for 7th Ward, 
1983-1987; alderman for 
13th Ward after redistrict- 
ing, 1987-1993. 

Coordinator of Mh ;ui uy a> -u 
Community Services for 
Rockford School District, 
1990-1993; community 
liaison for state comptrol- 
ler's office, 1985-1990; 
Rockford Community 
AJIiance, community orga- 
nizer, 1981-1985; 
Northern Illinois University, 
community program cocrid- 
nator, 1980-1981; city of 
Rockford, office of compre- 
hensive employment and 
training, 1977-1980; out- 
reach worker at Concord 
Recreation Center, 1975- 
77; dietary aide at Saint 
Dominic Hospital, Jackson, 
Miss., 1973-76. 

LE.BASH0W ^o^s:;' 

Penny Devereueawax adjusts the brim of husband John"s hat as 
they prepare to depart from the parking lot of Jerusalem Bapt St 

Although he was not 
involved in the civil rights march- 
es of the 1960s, his older brothers 
were, and he said he has seen the 
benefits southern blacks reaped 
from the drives. 

■ April 13, 1983: In the 7th 
Ward, John Devereueawax III 
became the ward's first black 
alderman, coming from behind to 
defeat his Republican opponent. 

Devereueawax attributed the 
victory "to the grace of God." 

■ Nov. 6, 1987: Police Chief 
William Fitzpatrick and Aid. John 
Devereueawax squared off last 
night in what was billed as a 
debate on police brutality. 

Devereueawax, D-13, said: "I 
received a number of calls when I 
was elected in 1983. Since then, 
it's gone on and on. People go to 
the police station to make a com- 
plaint and are treated like dirt." 

Fitzpatrick disagreed: "In an 
organization as large as ours, 
there's going to be some abuse at 
some time. But on the whole, no. 
People can call me if they have a 
problem, or go to the commission- 

Devereueawax countered: "The 
commission in this city is a joke. 
We all know that." 

B Dec. 12, 1990: Aid. John 
Devereueawax, an original pro- 
tester in the People Who Care law- 
suit against Rockford schools, has 
been hired as the district's new 
coordinator of Minority and 
Community Services. 

Devereueawax said he took his 
name off the petition to accept the 
job, but he still believes the law- 
suit charging the district with 
decades of discrimination is neces- 

"I believe I can be more helpful 
working on the inside," he said. 

■ July 30, 1991: Hiring a pros- 
titute could mean losing your car if 
one Rockford alderman gets his 

Aid. John Devereueawax III, D- 
13th, yesterday proposed that all 
men arrested for soliciting a pros- 
titute should have their cars 
impounded overnight 

"That way when a person gets 
arrested, not only does he have to 
explain to his spouse where he's 
been all night, but he also has to 
explain where the car is," he said. 

■ Nov. 7, 1991: One way to get 
guns off the streets is to buy them 
out of the hands of those who carry 
them, a ritv alderman believes. 

j^d ^ there are fewer guns, 
Aid. John Devereueawax III, D- 
13th, reasons, there may be fewer 
victims of gun-related violence. 

"People are fed up with the 
crime and the fear created by a 
crazy person carrying a gun " he 

B March 17, 1993: Aid. John 
Devereueawax III, D-13th, was in 
the intensive care unit at Rockford 
Memorial Hospital last night. 

A spokeswoman for the hospital 
- where the alderman was taken 
by ambulance yesterday morning 
-would not disclose the nature of 
Devereueawax's condition or why 
he was taken there. 

Second stroke 

Devereueawax suffered his sec- 
ond stroke on the morning of 
March 16, 1993. His wife, Penny 
got the call at work. 

That morning, Devereueawax 
had gone to the Macedonia 

Baptist Church for breakfast and 
to discuss schools with church pas- 
tors. After the meeting, he was 
clearing the table of paper plates 
and plastic utensils when he col- 
lapsed and slipped into seizures. 
He was woozy at first, then he 
passed out. The church secretarv 
called 911. 

An ambulance took 
Devereueawax to the^emergency 
room at Rockford Memorial 
Hospital. It was his second stroke 
in three years. Only a limp 
remained from the last one. 

"I didn't know for sure it was 
another stroke until I got to the 
hospital," Penny Devereueawax 
said. "I just knew it was serious." 

Penny waited with others close 
to the family for three hours while 
doctors worked to save her hus- 
band's life. When his condition sta- 
bilized, he was wheeled to the 
intensive care unit, where he 
spent four days under close obser- 

The first stroke had erased 
Devereueawax's memory. He had 
to relearn the alphabet and phone 
numbers of friends. He spent six 
weeks in the hospital. Eventually, 
he recovered liis memory. 

The second stroke affected the 
other side of the brain, the side 
that controls the ability to walk 
and talk. Devereueawax wasn't 
able to speak until the end of April 
1993. His legs and one arm were 

paralyzed. His right arm. tho igfa 
strong, lacked the coordination to 
perform intricate tasks, such as 

He 3pent five months in the 
hospital, attending speech and 
physical therapy. He left the hospi- 
tal in July for home, but his condi- 
tion worsened because of the lack 
of daily therapy. 

In September 1993, 

Devereueawax entered the thera- 
py center at the Alma Nelson 
Nursing Home. When he went to 
the home, Penny said her hus- 
band insisted the children enjoy as 
normal a life as possible. 

"John never wanted to disap- 
point the children," she said. "If 
someone had a birthday, we had a 
party. We just had the party in the 
nursing home." 

Devereueawax left Alma 
Nelson in December, after four 
momjs. v^^c^^q^^^ 

ror the past 1% years, he's 

gone to therapy once a week at 
the YWCA and once a month at 
Rockford Memorial Hospital. 

He still gets frustrated when 
he can't do the simple things he 
did before, such as turning the 
pages of the newspaper. 
Sometimes, his unsteady right 
hand rips the pages or knocks 
the paper off the table and onto 
the floor. But he prays, he says, 
and the frustration goes away. 

"He thinks he's going to walk 
again," said the Rev. Perry 
Bennett of Macedonia Baptist. 
"I wouldn't bet against him." 

Part of the family 

Despite his disabu. 
Devereueawax still helps at 
home as much as he can. his 
wife said. He's also eager to help 
close friends. 

Marie Yarbrough has known 
Devereueawax since he came to 
Rockford after graduating col- 
j lege in 1976. She considers him 
I part of the family. In March, one 
of her sons. LeRey. was charged 
in the shooting ot a man at the 
West-End Sportsman Club. As 
soon as Devereueaw ax heard, he 

"I couldn't believe it was him 
on the phone," she said. *He 
asked me if there was a :-.> '•••"• £ 
he could do. I told him 'Listen. J 
should be dome things for yen." 


Financially, John's stroke and 
therapy hasn't devastated the 
Devereueawaxs, but it has 
affected them. Insurance from 
the city and the school district 
covers most of the medical bills. 
The Devereueawaxs and four of 
seven children still live in the 

same four-bedroom home they 
have for nine of their 10 years of 

But their dream of building a 
new home is gone, and they've 
had to sell some property. 

In March, Penny started 
work for the city's Drug Free 
Rockford Community 

Partnership after nine months 
of staying at home with her hus- 

"We've always lived modest- 
ly," Penny Devereueawax said. 
"That ended up helping us. The 
biggest change for me has been 
taking over primary responsibil- 
ity for the kids. We always 
shared responsibility before." 

Meeting with RAMP 

On a warm, summer day two 
weeks ago, John Devereueawax 
sat in the large meeting room at 
the YWCA. His eyes darted 
around the room. 

Even though many of the 
dozen other people sat in wheel- 
chairs, too, Devereueawax 
appeared self-conscious. On this 
day, he traded his sweatpants 
and T-shirt for pressed slacks 
and a button-down shirt. This 
was his first meeting of the 
Regional Access & Mobilization 
Project (RAMP), an advocacy 

grouo for people with disabili- 
ties. fc^&tJLrr-? -^ vf) 

Earlier in June. 

Devereueawax called and asked 
to be on the RAMP board. Given 
his experience, they welcomed 
him. Come September, he will 
become their newest board 

During the meeting. 
Devereueawax listened atten- 
tively, but he didn't speak. He 
was learning about the group. 

Afterward, he said the meet- 
ing was "real good." 

He swallowed hard, then 

"Good to get involved." 

Kendall Kerns, president of the RAMP board of directors, welcomes John Devereueawax to a recent meet- 
ing. Devereueawax will become a board member in September. 

Financially, John's stroke and 
therapy hasn't devastated the 
Devereueawaxs, but it has 
affected them. Insurance from 
the city and the school district 
covers most of the medical bills. 
The Devereueawaxs and four of 
seven children still live in the 

same four-bedroom home they 
have for nine of their 10 years of 

But their dream of building a 
new home is gone, and they've 
had to sell some property. 

In March, Penny started 
work for the city's Drug Free 
Rockford Community 

Partnership after nine months 
of staying at home with her hus- 

"We've always lived modest- 
ly" Penny Devereueawax said. 
That ended up helping us. The 
biggest change for me has been 
taking over primary responsibil- 
ity for the kids. We always 
shared responsibility before." 

Meeting with RAMP 

On a warm, summer day two 
weeks ago, John Devereueawax 
sat in the large meeting room at 
the YWCA. His eyes darted 
around the room. 

Even though many of the 
dozen other people sat in wheel- 
chairs, too, Devereueawax 
appeared self-conscious. On this 
day he traded his sweatpants 
and T-shirt for pressed slacks 
and a button-down shirt. This 
was his first meeting of the 
Regional Access & Mobilization 
Project (RAMP), an advocacy 

group for people with disabili- 
ties. fc-^fruLrr-^--^ YR 

Earlier in June, 

Devereueawax called and asked 
to be on the RAMP board. Given 
his experience, they welcomed 
him. Come September, he will 
become their newest board 

During the meeting, 
Devereueawax listened atten- 
tively, but he didn't speak. He 
was learning about the group. 

Afterward, he said the meet- 
ing was "real good." 

He swallowed hard, then 

"Good to get involved." 

LE. BASKOW/The Register Star 

Kendall Kerns, president of the RAMP board of directors, welcomes John Devereueawax to a rece nt meet- 
ing. Devereueawax will become a board member in September. 

Flinn 2525 Ohio Parkway 
Bernard W. Flinn Middle School 

Adam Fusinato 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 
Rock Valley College 


Adam Fusinato 
English 101 


Flinn 2525 Ohio Parkway 

In the late 1950s almost 22,000 students were in enrolled in the Rockford Public 
Schools. The City of Rockford was not equipped with the necessary facilities to house 
these students in an appropriate fashion. For example, Lincoln Junior High, located on 
the southeast side of Rockford, was said to be "bursting" at the seams with 2,200 
students. Realizing the need for further accommodations in this area, the City of 
Rockford built Jefferson Junior High School in 1955. This $2,600,000 project was a 
major operation for the southeast side of Rockford. 

Flinn Middle School, first known as Thomas Jefferson Junior High School, 
located at 2525 Ohio Parkway, was built in 1955. The building was not built on time due 
to the lack of coordination. Regardless of this fact, Principal John Wise decided to open 
the building September 6, 1955. John Wise said, " The parts of the school that are 
finished are wonderful, but we're short on equipment." The single walk, sanitary 
problems from mud surrounding the entire building, and the unfinished swimming pool 
were just a few of the schools problems (Dean A: 1). 

The school was named after one of the U.S. president's, Thomas Jefferson. Other 
schools in Rockford area adopted their names from U.S. presidents. Jefferson Junior 
High School took the load off of many Rockford schools by enrolling 1 . 1 SO students. 
Students were organized into ten seventh grade groups, twelve eighth grade groups, and 
sixteen ninth grade groups. Along with city school students, country school students 

Fusinato 2 

from New Milford, Morris Kennedy, Buckbee, Nashhold, Cherry Vally, Kishwaukee 
were consolidated. Vandercook, Kinson, and Gonsale School also attended Jefferson. 
The 51 staff members conducted 240 class periods per day. Students arrived at 8:30 a.m. 
with a 15-minute homeroom period, followed by six periods of about 50 minutes each 
(Rockford Public 2). 

In just a few years, Jefferson Junior High School underwent a major change. The 
1971 change marked the beginning of Jefferson's transition into a full-fledged high 
school, serving grades eight through ten. Just one year later, it added eleventh and 
twelfth grades. This change was made due to the money shortage and the ever- 
increasing school population ("Cure Proposed"). 

Finally, in 1978, the building transformed into a middle school, due to the 
decision of building a new high school. The middle school was named after Bernard W. 
Flinn because of his generous financial donations to District 205. Bernard W. Flinn 
Middle School has remained a middle school to this day (Ippilito). 

Not only were there problems with the building structure, but there were also 
internal problems with the school. The most serious of these problems was the asbestos 
hazard within the walls of the buildings. Huge areas of the ceilings were falling down 
while students walked to class. The teachers' main concerns with the asbestos hazards 
were the cancer-like diseases, which the faculty and students could get over a period of 
time being around it. Finally, the Board of Education raised the money to take care of 
this problem in 1967 (Bergen). 

After interviewing one of the first students whom attended Jefferson Junior High 
School and a more recent graduate this writer found that main views of the school were 


Fusinato 3 

not the same. Mr. Ippilito, Jefferson's baseball coach and physical education teacher 
remembers many of the original problems that the school faced. He explained that a few 
teachers that taught during the asbestos situation have recently passed away due to 
cancer- related problems. He also can recall one day when he was in ninth grade that 
every student went on strike, because the school was going to be transferred into a high 
school. The principal John Wise at that time held a speech that very same day and stated 
if the school was going to be changed into a high school it was going to be the "best 
damn high school in Rockford," and the students returned to their classes (Ippilito). 

The more recant graduate, Kristina Wells, explained that she had never heard of 
the asbestos problems. According to her, the school seemed very safe, clean, and well 
organized (Wells). 

This writer has lots of memories going back to his Flinn days. Flirting with the 
girls and all the rec. nights made Flinn a fun school to go to. Rec. nights were held on 
ever Friday, in which students could dance and play and occasional basketball game or 

Flinn, being only two blocks away from this writer's house, made it easy not only 
for him, but for my brother and sister to go there too. I was a very fortunate kid, because 
I never had to ride the big yellow bus to any school I attended. 

In conclusion, the building located at 2525 Ohio Parkway has marked a place in 
Rockford's history, because of its usefulness in eliminating several of District 205's 
problems. Not only did the creation of the building relieve tension due to over-crowding, 
but it also helped with district's money issues. 

~Y atmvi f fa &^B!Nm&** *p>~> to »n twme» <>f ^ Th ur sJ my ^^wmfittgr' ' (Morning f- ifafcr 
Jeff Atton JuntaThlgh school waiting for- X'hoto) 
door* to open ; for"jjt>t • 4*7 <»t *?k° < * 

■ WU - ■»••-■• 

' *T" : .-,„• 

JSftidcnU/ aMHnbfo oqf*Jd* "*Ml-lo-b* 
completed Jctfenon junior hlfh school 
muting' for doom In open for c?»»*e~« fodat*. 
SlngJr, livable »ldcu»Ik en* bird them lo 

avoid ti>c muddy •choo!rar4^trfM 

e*rf»* rooms and Jack of rqinpmr»t gr**te*d 

thrm indoors. (RcgUter-Republlc fttaff 


though not finished, is open this Fall to 
1200 students. Because of the crowded 
conditions in the three other junior high 
schools in the city, it was necessary to 
use the completed classrooms in Jeffer- 
son, even though other parts of the 
building are not finished. 

Works Cited 

Bergen, Kathy. "Teachers Concerns with Asbestos hazard." Rock ford Register Star. 

20 Nov. 2002. 
"Cure Proposed For School Ills." Rockford Register-Republic. 2 July. 1969. 
Dean,Todd. "New Junior High Open - But Barely." Rockford Register- Republic. 

6 Sept. 1956. Sec. A: 1. 
Ippolito, Jeff. Personal Interview. 15 March 2002. 
Rockford Public School System. Education in Rockford. Sept. 1956. 
Wells, Kristina. Personal Interview. 16 March 2002. 

The Story Of Guilford High School 
("Guilford High School") 


Spring Semester 2002 
Rock Valley College 

English 101-DX 


Thy Le 

Scott Fisher, Instructor 

English 101, DX 

April 25, 2002 

The Story of Guilford High School 

Guilford High School is one of the four public high schools in 
Rockford. It is big, in excellent condition, and considered the best 
public school in the city (Thy). In addition, it is located in the 
northeast part of Rockford where there are many expensive homes. Even 
after forty-two years of changes, Guilford High School still stands, in 
great condition, offering excellent academic programs taught by 
dedicated teachers. 

Guilford High School has an interesting history that dates back to 
1961. At that time, the population in northeast Rockford was growing 
extremely fast, so the residents demanded that a new school be built in 
the northeast section since the only other high school on the east side 
of Rockford was East High School. Which it was overcrowded and several 
miles from the newly constructed northeast homes ( The Guilford Silver 
Anniversary Commemoration Boo k: "The Beginnings" ), 



On February 14, 1961, there was a special election called by the 
Rockford School Board for the passage of a school bond referendum for 
the building of a high school located in the northeast part of Rockford. 
In 1961, according to The Guilford Silver Anniversary Commemoration 
Boo k: "The Beginnings" , "A group of women called the 'Help Educate 
Youth Committee' was created under the leadership of Vi Carson to help 
educate the Rockford citizens on the importance of an additional high 
school. Through coffee parties, educational brochures, and tags passed 
out to people by both children and adults, these women worked many long 
hours to insure the passage of the School Bond Referendum. Their 
efforts were instrumental in the beginnings of Guilford High School. " 
(" Guilford Silver ... "The Beginnings" ") . The referendum for 2.2 
million dollars passed 12,653 votes to 9,818 votes to build a four-year 
school to hold about 1,500 students ("School Voted..."). 

After the Bond Referendum passed, eighty acres of land on Spring 
Creek Road just west of Mulford was bought for a total cost of $176,000. 
Before the school was built, the land was part of the estate of Lizzie 
Shaw (" Guilford Silver . . . "The Beginnings" "). 

Work on the building started on April 25, 1961. with Hubbard and 
Highland as the architects. The building was finished in September 



1962, and it immediately became home to it new students. (" Guilford 
Silver . . . "The Beginning" ") 

In 1962, when the school was first built, it was the most modern 
public school in Rockford. Although the new school was patterned after 
Auburn, the gym, cafeteria and kitchen, and boiler room were built much 
larger than Auburn' s to hold about 2,000 students. Auburn was built for 
about 1,500 students ( "School Voted, Board Plans 1962 Opening" ). 

Guilford was named after the Guilford family because Elijah B. 
Guilford was one of Winnebago County' s oldest settlers. He came to 
Rockford from Massachusetts with his family on September 19, 1835. 
Thirteen years later, in 1848, he moved out to a four hundred and thirty 
acre farm in Pecatonica. There, he became interested in making 
machinery for farms ("Guilford Silver..."). 

On September 6, 1962, when Guilford first opened its doors, 
1,412 students were enrolled. Dr. John C. Swanson moved to Guilford 
High School as the first principal, along with other administrators 
("Contributions By Many"). However, according to Valhalla, Guilford's 
Hall of Fame , "Before coming to Guilford, Dr. Swanson taught at Wheaton 
Academy, a private school in a Chicago suburb, and held the position of 
assistant principal and sophomore counselor at East Rockford High 
School" ("Valhalla, Guilford's llall..."V He was instrumental in 


selecting the faculty and planning curriculum and coordinated the many 
individuals who contributed large amounts of work during the months 
prior to the Guilford opening. 

The first counselors were: Thomas Ford, Leonard Gibb, Richard 
Scott and Donald Tyler. Also, the first department heads were: Letitia 
Saunders, English; John Thayer, foreign language; Marian Peters, social 
studies; Donald Hicks, science; James Koehn, math; John Knaus, art; 
Dennis Blunt, music; Marjorie Winquist, home economics; Sherwood Could, 
business arts; Ronald Hallstrom, business-office; and Horald Swanson, 
gym. ("Guilford Silver...") 

Before the first year was over, Guilford was over capacity. The 
total registrations for that school year were over 2, 000. In the 
Rockford Register Star' s article, "New School Overflows, " The 
following was noted: 

Principal John Swanson said he expected exactly 100 less 
students when making estimates last year, and he doubts all 
2,017 students will actually start school this fall. He 
estimates that between 1,960 and 1,975 will start though. 
Also, the city' s newest high school has only one room, a 
social studies room, that will bo free one period a day, 
'and maybe before we get though wo' 11 have to put a class 


in there, ' Swanson said. 'Beside that, there are two 
other rooms that will not have classes one hour each day, 
but these will be used for remedial reading and publications 
activities. The cafeteria will have five overlapping lunch 
periods every 15 minutes' , he said. Students will be asked 
to eat and clear out immediately. During inclement weather, 
they will just have to stand around outside the cafeteria, 
he said. A dozen more tables have been added to the 
cafeteria, and back-to-back chairs will be about a feet 
apart. ( "New School Overflow" ) 
In 1966, the classes of 1965 and 1966 dedicated the Viking seal to 
Guilford High School. It was placed on the south wall of the school 
building and was given during honor ceremonies on the school' s front 
lawn. The seal was made out of blue and gold aluminum, and was a five 
by eight foot and weighed three hundred pounds. The design was of a 
Viking' s head surrounded by blue and inscribed with the words, 

"Rockford Guilford Viking. " The sword of the Viking extended from the 
top to the bottom of the seal, and a golden horn rested on the top of 
the Viking' s helmet. Designed by John Knaus. a former Guilford Art 
instructor, the seal was made under the direction ot' William Bowen, 


senior class sponsor, and Dr. John C. Swanson. ("Guilford High 

Dedicated Viking Seal") 

However, on September 1979, Guilford had an accidental fire after 

a substitute teacher placed a pan along with wax and an electric hot 

plate and left the room. According to the Rockford Register Star : "Fire 

On Hot Plate Damages. . . " 

Fire and smoke Wednesday morning damaged an art room at 
Guilford High School and put about 2,000 students out in the 
28-degree chill winds for a short time. Principal Roger 
Johnson said the fired apparently started after a substitute 
teacher placed a pan of wax on an electric hot plate to melt 
then left the room unoccupied. A teacher in a room across a 
courtyard first saw the fire. Coincidentally, the school' s 
fire alarms had been disconnected until recently because of 
a continuing problem with pranksters who pull alarm bells, 
Johnson said. Deputy Fire Chief Dough Bressler said the 
fire, reported at 9:28 a.m., caused an estimated $2,500 
damage to the building and $200 to contents. But the smoke 
was extensive and may have caused additional loss, he said. 
Fire officials later reported the total loss at $3,500. 
( "Fire on Hot Plate Damages---" ) 


Currently, there are around 1,900 students and 135 teachers and 
supporting staff working at Guilford High School. The administrators at 
Guilford are Yolanda Simmons, Principal; Gerald Kinsley, Associate 
Principal; Marcus Mowens Assistant Principal ( "Rockford Public 
School---" ). 

Efforts to improve both the programming and the grounds continue 
to expand. Guilford High School decided to add a garden to the senior 
courtyard in 1998 under the leadership of Mary K. Roney. The senior 
courtyard garden is about 140 feet by 90 feet and has many different 
kind of flowers. Later on, they hope to make a garden in the junior 
courtyard, then the sophomore courtyard, and then the freshmen. 
Students that have graduated from Guilford who are sculptors have been 
recruited to create sculptures for the garden. ( "Guilford High 
School" ) 

Today' s student enrollment is perfect for the building' s 
space. New programs like the Viking Freshman Advantage (V. F. A. ) meet 
the needs of students in better ways. 

A recipient of nearly one-half million dollars from the 
United States Department of Education' s Smaller Learning 
Community grant, GHS is currently implementing the '2nd year 
of Guilford Viking Freshman Advantage O'F.O program. The 



Freshman Advantage is an approach to learning based on 
scholarly research, proven practices of effective teaching 
and trends. The purpose of the VFA is to adequately prepare 
the diverse student population of Guilford High School for 
the challenges they will face in the future. The Freshman 
Advantage represents a shift in perspective from teaching to 
learning and from teacher-focused to student-centered 
learning. The VFA restructures the school day for freshman 
into four periods of 90-95 minutes each. Students take four 
courses the first semester and four different courses the 
second semester. This is commonly referred to as block 
scheduling, teaching in extended periods of time to allow 
for in-depth learning experiences. To meet the needs of all 
students, all course offered in a traditional schedule will 
continue, including both honors and regular courses. While 
new freshmen will take their class in the block, 10th - 12th 
grade classes will remain in the traditional seven periods. 
( "Viking Freshman Advantage" ). 
Guilford High School has had a long history of academic excellence 

and, by many, is considered to be the best high school in Rockford. 

Guilford continues to build on its excel lout history. Today" s student 


enrollment is perfect for the building' s space. New programs like the 
Viking Freshman Advantage meet the needs of students in better ways. In 
addition, the courtyard gardens enhance the beauty of the grounds. 



Scott Fisher, Instructor 

English 101, DX 

April 25, 2002 

Works Cited 

"Contributions By Many." The Guilford Silver Anniversary Commemorative 
Book. Ed. Bonnie Bennett-Moore. No Date. 

"Conferring are Board of Education representative Mr. Richard Boden, two 
contractors, Dr. Swanson, and our head custodian, Everett Hallquist." 
The Guilford Silver Anniversary Commemorative Book. Ed. Bonnie 
Bennett-Moore. Photograph by: Unknown. 

"Fire On Hot Plate Damages Art Room At Guilford High" Rockford Register 
Star article. November 29, 1978. 

"Guilford High School." Rockford Register Start article. October 24, 1998. 

"Guilford High School-1964". Photograph by. Unknown. 

"Guilford High School-1988". Photograph by: Unknown. 

"Guilford High School." Rockford Public School. School message. Received 
from Nghi Le. February 25, 2002. 

"Guilford High School is a modern example of a community facing up to the 


educational needs of its growing population of youngsters." Sinnissippi 

Saga. Photograph by: Unknown 
"In late August the finishing touches were added to the building and 

ground." The Guilford Silver Anniversary Commemorative Book. Ed. 

Bonnie Bennett-Moore. Photograph by. Unknown. 
"In The Fall of 1962, Guilford Waits To Open." The Guilford Silver 

Anniversary Commemorative Book. Ed. Bonnie Bennett-Moore. 

Photograph by: Unknown. 
"New School Overflows." Rockford Register Star article. August 14, 1963. 
"New Seal Adorns Guilford." Rockford Register Star. December 23, 1966. 

Photograph by: Unknown. 
"Organizing the office was a big job as Mrs. Evelyn Johnson, bookkepper, 

and Mrs. Dorothy Oman, IBM operator, discovered." The Guilford 

Silver Anniversary Commemorative Book. Ed. Bonnie Bennett-Moore. 

Photograph by: Unknown. 
"Rockford's New High School." Rockford Register Star article. September 

22, 1963. Photograph by: UnKnown. 
"School Voted, Board Plans 1962 Opening." Rockford Register Star article. 
February 15, 1961. 


"The Beginnings." The Guilford Silver Anniversary Commemorative Book. 
Ed. Bonnie Bennett-Moore. No Date. 

The Guilford Silver Anniversary Commemorative Book. "Dr. Swanson spent 
much of the summer reviewing textbooks to be adopted for Guilford." 
Ed. Bonnie Bennett-Moore. Photograph by. Unknown. 

The Guilford Silver Ar\r\\versary Commemorative 

Book. Ed. Bonnie Bennett-Moore. No Date. 
Valhalla. Guilford's Hall of Fame. Volume II. Page. 5 
"Viking Freshman Advantage." Rockford Public School. 


Guilford High School - 1964 

ii.dttijfc'fti ' . . . 

1 i 

? ~ ,; 

Guilford High School 1988 

New Seal Adorns huiltord 

John C. Swanson, Guilford High School principal, leads stu- 
dents in singing the Guilford High School pep song at cere- 
monies Thursday afternoon dedicating the high school seal 
erected on the wall of the school building. The 5-bv-xS-foot 
aluminum blue and gold seal above Swanson is a gift of the 
graduating classes of 1965 and 1966 and weighs 3(H) pounds! 
The student council plans to illuminate the seal with spot- 
lights from the roof. (Register-Republic- staff photo) 


'is a modem exani- 

ba community facing 

the educational 

of its growing pop- 

n of youngsters. 


Rockford's Newest High School 

Guilford High School was formally dedicated Sunday. 

'^*^**" t **i 

Dr. Swanson spent much ol the summer reviewing text- 
hooks to he adopted lor C.nilloid. 

Conferring are hoard of Education rcprcseniam c Mr. 
Richard Boden, two contractors. l>r Swanson. and our 
head custodian, Kveiett Halliiulst. 


In late August the finishing touches were added to the 
building and grounds. 

Organizing the office was a blgjobas Mrs. Evelyn John- 
son, bookkeeper, and Mrs. Dorothy Oman, IBM operator, 

Head Start Program 


Lashunda Iverson 

English 101, RRM 

Scott Fisher 

2 May 2002 

Lashunda Iverson 
English 101 RRM 
2 May 2002 

Head Start Has A Mission 

The City of Rockford Head Start, located at 200 North Johnston Avenue, is an 
excellent federally funded program. Head Start has survived over thirty years reinventing 
itself since its opening back in 1965. It has helped many mothers and fathers learn how to 
care for their children and encourage their development (Mills 287). The Head Start staff 
and administrators' mission states," Our overall mission is to break the cycle of poverty, 
to prepare pre-school children to be effective learners and citizens, and to assist families 
to achieve greater economic, social, and self sufficiency of their children." 

As a desperate cry for help and support, families turned to welfare for assistance 
and others searched for organizations such as Head Start that would give children a 
decent education, regardless of their economic circumstances. 

The Henrietta site first started as a local West Side playground facility. The 
playground was named Henrietta Playground. There had been controversy among the East 
Side and West Side residents. The West Side residents complained that all the industrial 
and residential improvement was aimed only towards the East Side of the river. The West 
Side residents felt there was no place for the neighborhood kids to play (Bailie 
Interview). After looking into this matter a playground was built so that children in the 
vicinity would have a decent place for entertainment (Barrie Interview). 

Six years later, the Park District offered to buy the Henrietta Playground for 


$10,000 from the Rockford Board of Education. The Rockford Board of Education had 
purchased the property for a possible school site; however, the plans were abandoned and 
the property was leased to the Rockford Park District (Barrie Interview). The offer was 
referred to the Buildings and Grounds Committee, where board members indicated they 
would have to vote to accept the offer. While waiting on the outcome, Rockford 
taxpayers refused to let this happen. Immediately, the Board of Education received 
petitions from the neighborhood families with 237 signatures objecting the sale ("Schools 
Elementary- 1). 

Furthermore, they formed a protest citizen's committee to discuss plans to build a 
school on the West Side of Rockford, so children didn't have to bus across town to 
receive a decent education. (Lindquist 28) 

Later at the board meeting, Loren L. Whitehead, board president said that no 
further action had been taken because of the objection of neighborhood residents 
(Lindquist 29). 

As a result, the Rockford Board of Education decided to construct a primary 
school on Henrietta's property to service West Side children in the neighborhood. 
Lawrence A. Johnson, who was Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee. 
planned to have the school by the next year ( Lindquist 29). 

In addition, the plans were carried out and in 1951, Henrietta School opened its 
doors for two hundred and fifteen children, which serviced kindergarten through fourth- 
grade students. The cost of the building totaled $219,585. which was designed b> A. 
Reynor Eastman (Lindquist 29). The general contractors were Sjostrom and Sons. Inc. 
The Rockford Industries Inc. did the heatinu and ventilation for $20,434.80. and 

|V£r30n- 3 

Broadway Electric Company, did the electrical work for $12,390. In later years, Henrietta 
School was closed due to heating and other major remodeling problems (Madison 

"In the early years of the 1960s, Rockford residents experienced a huge economic 
setback. Jobs came to a standstill; therefore, the struggle for poor families and their 
children became a nightmare throughout the communities. These crucial times made it 
extremely difficult for employed families to find suitable childcare for their children" 

Meanwhile, this was the time of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr. and several other non-violent activists were fighting for the rights of equality 
and freedom. Dr. King was preparing to lead the Poor Man's March in Washington D.C. 
He was trying to change segregation laws of the country, so that black and white children 
didn't have to be segregated from the school system because of the color of their skin. Dr. 
King's constant battle for our nation was heard throughout the world and his speeches 
and marches inspired many people to fight hard for the rights of their generations and the 
generations that were yet to come. (Mills 2) 

After many years of hard and dedicated work Dr. Martin Luther King was 
assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. 

During that time Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President of the United States. 
President Johnson learned about the price of poverty and prejudice and prepared to earn 
out the dreams that Dr. King had fought so hard to achieve. Then in 1 %4. President 
Johnson began his mission by declaring a war on poverty. He wanted to help diverse 
citizens by breaking the cycle of poverty and give low-income families and their children 
a decent life style as well as education. President Johnson appointed Sergeant Shiver to 

Ivcrson- f 

become Head of the War on Poverty (Mills 3). 

In the fall of 1964, Sergeant Shiver met with the Office of Economic 
Opportunity. Shiver looked at a pie chart of the nation's poverty population and 
discovered that the biggest chunks were the children. Shiver was determined to do 
something about it. Shiver pulled together a planning committee, which was headed by 
Dr. Robert Cooke, of John Hopkins Medical School (Mills 46). In only a few weeks the 
Cooke committee reported that a comprehensive program for children was not only 
needed, but also could be done and started the following summer. 

Shiver's mission was about to begin. He wrote to school and welfare officials 
around the country to discuss plans about starting a program for children. Many positive 
responses trickled in. In addition, he began talking to different agencies, setting up 
meetings, and planning what measurements and funding it would take to get started. 

Finally, the processing line did their jobs and in the summer of 1965, President 
Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Claudia, stepped before reporters and cameras and proudly 
announced the new program (Mills 54). 

Nobody had a name for this program, so Judah Drob, who was head of the 
training program, suggested that this would probably be the children's first time entering 
a school building. She announced, this program would give the kids a "head start" on 
education. After giving it a thought she came up with the name Head Start (Mills 49). 

The next summer Project Head Start launched its eight-week program in 
Rockford, at Booker Washington Center. Because of the growing population. Head Start 
needed more space to operate this program (Williams Interview). 

As a result, the City of Rockford Head Start program continued to expand; 

Iverson- 5 

therefore, forcing them to relocate in several different buildings in Rockford. After 
searching for more space, they eventually purchased the former Henrietta School 
building, which is located at 200 North Johnston Avenue, for $1 .00 from the Rockford 
Board of Education (Iverson Interview). 

Upon Head Start's arrival, the purpose of the building has remained the same. The 
building now services pre-school children from the ages of three to five. The interior of 
the building has been upgraded to make it a more modern place to teach. They have 
installed computers in all the classrooms and offices. Head Start has added two more 
classrooms to the building. Instead of desks, they use oblong tables, which gives the kids 
a larger play area and it enhances the rooms. In addition, they have installed a security 
alarm system to secure the building. The windows are stained glass. Also the bathrooms 
have been rebuilt to meet the sizes of the smaller kids (Iverson Interview). 

The exterior of the building has been upgraded as well. Head Start has put a silver 
three- foot fence around the building to secure the safety of the children. Also, they 
installed colorful playground equipment and benches for the teachers to monitor the 
children as they play. In addition, they have made the building wheelchair-accessible for 
the disabled children and families (Iverson Interview). "This building is an old building. 
but Head Start has done a good job of keeping it up," said the writer. 

Head Start has come along way from 1965-2001 . This program has surely gone 
that extra mile in helping our community. The warm and caring staff not only looks out 
for the Head Start child, but the entire family as a whole. They provide dental, medical. 
and hearing and vision screenings. They also provide each child with healthy and 
nutritional meals. The writer also commented," The great aspect of Head Start is that no 

\\/£rsor\- [q 

child is denied assistance because of finances. Every child is treated with care, no matter 
what their nationality may be. Head Start has a caring staff, who does not mind taking 
that extra mile to assist the children and their families." 

To shed more light on the untold positive Head Start outcomes, Mershon Wilkes 
(writer's son) gives an account of his remembrances of Head Start. Mershon tells about 
how much he liked the program. His fondest memories were going to the Milwaukee 
Zoo, to the Public Library, and especially to the fire station. He also spoke about how 
Head Start taught him how to be a "big boy" and not to cry when his mother had to leave 
him to go to work. Furthermore, he remembered how to ride the bus safely and the bus 
driver always telling him to buckle his seat belt. What he will never forget is his 
Achievement Award for completion of the program (Wilkes Interview). 

Maury Wilkes (father of Mershon Wilkes), a volunteer parent in the program, said 
"Head Start taught me how to be a better person and parent." He also told about being a 
chaperone when the kids went on a field trip. Another thing he remembered was 
receiving and active father award for being involved in the program. Maury finishes by 
saying, "One of the greatest aspects of Head Start is that the focus is on the family as a 
whole, not just the child." 

Johnetta Iverson (mother of the writer) has been with Head Start for over thirn 
years. "This is a well-invested program and I am surely grateful for Head Start. Head 
Start has benefited my family as well as myself in several different areas." The staff and 
kids have taught me how to be a family within a family. One thing she will never forget is 
how supportive the staff was to her when her mom passed away. The Head Start staff did 
everything they could to comfort her and make the pain more bearable. She realized that 


the death of her mom was serious, and with the help of her own family and Head Start. 
she was able to get though it (Iverson Interview). 

In conclusion, Head Start alone can not cure poverty, but it has continued to strive 
to give men, women, and children the encouragement they need to succeed and live a 
productive life. This program has certainly carried out its mission. 

Works Cited Page 
Barrie, Vance. Personal Interview, Personal Interview, February 2002. 
"Bilingual Class" April 2001. Photographer: Unknown. 
" Breakfast Time For The Children" May 2000. Photographer: Unknown. 
Chance, Theresa. Telephone Interview, February 2002. 
"Class Picture" July, 2001. Photographer: Mueller Studio. 
Clark, Robert." Maximum Feasible Success". A History of the Community Action 

Program . Washington, D. C; 2000 2-4, 241-250, 263-268, 287-291 . 
Davis, George. Personal Interview, February 2002. 
Davis, George. Telephone Interview, February 2002. 
"Field Trip" April 22, 2002. Photographer: Unknown. 
" Head Start and Human Services Staff and North Main Site" July 5, 2001 . 
"Henrietta School 1951" August 8, 1951. Photographer unknown. 
"Henrietta School 200 1 " March 200 1 . Photographed by Lashunda I verson. 
Iverson, Johnetta. Personal Interview, January 2002. 
Iverson, Johnetta. Personal Interview, February 2002. 
Iverson, Johnetta. Personal Interview, March 2002.. Illinois; 
Linquist, Don. "Rockford Builds For Rockford's Children" Rockford' s School 

District , 1956 ; R 727.1 R 59 25-31. 
Lindquist, Don. "Location Of Existing Schools." 1960, Photographer: Unknown 
Madison, Tracy. Personal Interview, February 2002. 
Mills, Kay. " Something Better For My Children." How Head Start Has Changed the 

Lives of Millions of Children . New York 1998 ( \ \ ww.pcnuuinputnam.c om) 2-5. 

30-33, 46-50, 54, 287-289. 
"Our Playtime." March 13,2002. Photographer: Unknown 
" Parents Enjoy Watching Children" August 2001 . Photographer: Unknown 
Recess Time" July 5, 2001. Photographer: Lashunda Iverson 
" Schools Elementary- 1 " Rockfordian Files- Rockford Public Library, Rockford Register 

Star March 1936-February 1973 33, 45. 
Sledge, Shirley. Personal Interview, March 2002. 

" Waving Good-bye To Their Teachers" July 3, 2001 . Photographer: Unknown 
Wilkes, Maury. Personal Interview, March 2002 
Wilkes, Mershon. Personal Interview, March 2002. 
Williams, Granada. Personal Interview, March 2002. 
Williams, Granada. Telephone Interview March 2002. 

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And Justice For All: 
The DeKalb County Courthouse 

Scott Berry 

Rock Valley College 

English 101 

2002 Spring Semester 





Scott Berry 
English 101 
29 April 2002 

And Justice for All: 
The DeKalb County Courthouse 

No building in DeKalb County is more unique or recognizable than the DeKalb 
County Courthouse. Looking at the building today, one could not imagine the events that 
took place at the beginning of the county's creation that shaped the modern-day city of 

The tale begins in 1837. The Illinois Legislature created DeKalb County from 
land taken mostly from Kane county, formed just two years prior. Six years after the 
county was created, the land in the central part of the county came to market. The sale of 
this land was very important to the settlers in the area and they had been saving their gold 
pieces in anticipation of this event. One trustworthy man was selected from each 
neighborhood to bid on the land as it came to auction. The long journey to Chicago for 
the sale presented challenges itself, but was nothing compared to the "pickpockets" the) 
encountered scouting out their victims at the sale. Many of Sycamore's residents went to 
the sale with pockets full of gold and returned moneyless and landless. When the land 
where Sycamore was built came to sale, the county found itself out of money. The 
wealthier residents of the county were not willing to lend the count) money to buy land. 
Eventually, three men, Jesse C. Kellog, Carlos Lattin. and Curtis Smith, who had an 
interest in adjoining land, bought the land for the count) but held it in their name until the 
county could repay them. The county got most of the land but losi some of it when me) 
were unable to gain the title to some of the land that was sold(NationalY 


While land was being sold and fought over, the eounty had appointed three, out- 
of-county residents to serve as a site seleetion eommittee for the eounty eourthouse which 
would also decide the location of the county seat. The county seat was of great 
importance to the people of the county. Having your town serve as the county seat meant 
a great potential for population and trade growth(National). 

Although there were many towns and settlements fighting for the attention of the 
site selection committee, Sycamore was the strongest contender. Sycamore had the largest 
population at the time and also had the Mansion House Hotel located east of the public- 
square where the Sycamore Public Library now stands. There was a lot of deception and 
political "catfights" during the debate over the location. Some even went so far as to hold 
an election where the notice was only posted in Coltonville, a small settlement of a half a 
dozen homes and shops about a mile and a half southwest of Sycamore. It was no 
surprise that Coltonville won that election, but the election was voided by a court order. 
Sycamore won the vote of the site selection committee mainly because of the high ground 
that was proposed for the site as apposed to the land that was plagued by floods in the 
other towns(National). 

After winning the county seat, Sycamore quietly constructed a 20 \ 30 foot 
building to be used as the first courthouse. The first Monday in June in 1 839 was to be 
the first session of court in the new building(National). 

During the early to mid 1800s the court was hearing eases about such things as 
livestock theft, stagecoach robbery, boundary disputes, grave robbing, murder, and 


counterfeiting. The population of the county grew to 7,544 by 1 850 and the courthouse 
was considered to be too small to handle the business of the county. There was some 
debate about the need for a new courthouse, but a majority agreed that they had out- 
grown the little shack of a building and needed a new one. In 1 849, county 
commissioners appointed three men to contract the building of the county's second 
courthouse. The new building was to be in the center of the public square and 
constructed of brick. The commissioners also stipulated that the building be sixty feet 
long and forty feet wide and not cost more than $6,000. Twenty-five percent of the 
money was to be raised by individual citizens(National). 

The new building was completed in 1850 and stood two stories high with a large 
clock tower. In February of 1851 the courthouse was inaugurated with a grand ball. 
Thirteen years later, the county approved $4,500 to add an addition to the courthouse 
making room for the Circuit Clerk"s office(National). 

During the 1890s, as the turn of the century approached, many felt it was time for 
a change when it came to the courthouse. Almost all of the surrounding counties had 
already replaced their courthouses with new buildings, and Sycamore did not want to be 
left behind. It had been fifty years since the second courthouse was built and the count) 
was finally out of debt. In the fall of 1901, a resolution was unanimous!) passed b) the 
board of supervisors, appropriating $100,000 to build a new courthouse. Almost 
immediately there was a problem(National). 

The city of DeKalb wanted the courthouse, and industrialist Jacob 1 laish and Isaac 
lillwood pledged $20,000 each plus $20,000 from the people of DeKalb if the courthouse 

was built in DeKalb. Sycamore residence answered the call by raising over $70,000 to 
keep the courthouse in their town. DeKalb immediately liled suit, calling for an 
injunction to prevent construction, claiming there were no plans to care for the county 
records while the old building was being demolished and the new one was being built. A 
petition was also started in DeKalb calling for a referendum on relocating the county seat 
to DeKalb. The referendum never came to a vote because proper notice was 
not given. DeKalb tried to reach a compromise with Sycamore in 1 903 where the seat 
would remain in Sycamore with the provision that an old people's home, costing 
$150,000, be built in DeKalb, with $50,000 of the cost paid by the residents of Sycamore. 
The Board of Supervisors once again approved a resolution to build the courthouse, this 
time appropriating $140,000. The compromise was rejected and Sycamore residents, 
instead of donating to the old people's home, added $55,000 to the building fund. Legal 
action continued through the summer of 1903 including another injunction and another 
petition drive fueled by Jacob Haish putting $103,000 of his own money up to build the 
courthouse in DeKalb(National). 

On October 29th 1903, people from all over the county gathered in the public 
square for the "Laying of the Cornerstone" ceremony. A parade through the streets o\' 
Sycamore ending at the square gave way to the official ceremony complete with bands, 
speeches and singing. Even during this grand program, DeKalb continued to oppose the 
building of the courthouse in Sycamore. Both sides had a delegation of speakers around 
the county to gather support for their cause, complete with musical quartets. 

Work on the courthouse continued rapidly during l l )04. and b) Januar\ o\ 1905 


the state Supreme Court handed down the final ruling against DeKalb keeping the county 
seat in Sycamore(National). 

Charles E. Brush of Chicago designed the courthouse(DeKalb). The style of 
architecture is Beauxeart. Beauxeart is French and is used in other well-known buildings 
such as the Art Institute of Chicago. The 1906 Sycamore prospectus spoke very well of 
the new courthouse and was the pride of the Sycamore residents. The courthouse quickly 
became known as a "temple of American architecture"(National). 

Things have changed a great deal since DeKalb County's third and present 
courthouse was built almost one hundred years ago. Things have also remained the same. 

The courthouse was occupied in January of 1 905(National). Since that time there 
have been a number of changes to the historical building. In 1 954, the courthouse was 
not changed in any way, but the exterior received somewhat of a facelift with a good 
cleaning. The entire courthouse was cleaned and polished till everything shined like new . 
This was all in preparation for the courthouse's fiftieth anniversary. During the 
anniversary celebration, Governor Stratton gave a speech from the courthouse 
steps("Courthouse Groomed"). 

A decade later in 1964, the courthouse received its first major rejuvenation. 1 'he 
exterior was sandblasted and the roof was completely replaced. The inspectors were 
amazed when inspecting the building, to find that the building built in 1903. if built then 
in 1964, would have met all the modern building standards(**1903..."). This was a true 
testament to the craftsmanship of the people that built the grand building. 

During the 1970s, the county realized that the facilities in Sycamore needed 

to be modernized. The planning process started in the early 1 970s. The county made- 
plans to build a new correctional facility and a new administration building and to 
remodel and restore the courthouse. The DeKalb County Public Building Commission 
signed an agreement with the architectural firm Burnidge, Cassell and Associates of Elgin 
to prepare plans for the remodel. Dekalb County Chairman Donald Lundgren appointed a 
Courthouse Remodeling Committee to work with the judiciary and the architectural firm 
to devise a final plan to present to the county board. On December 2 1 st, 1 983, the 
County Board passed a resolution approving the plan and authorizing the Public Building 
Commission to issue bonds and award contracts. Irving Construction Company of 
DeKalb was general contractor for the project(National). 

There were two goals of the remodeling project. The first goal was to provide 
efficient and functional space for the needs of the States Attorney, Circuit Clerk. 
Probation Department, and the courts while keeping the original architectural character. 
The second goal was to restore the historically significant areas of the courthouse like the 
lobbies, the original courtrooms, and stairway. To help with the restoration the 
committee employed the help of a nationally recognized restoration contractor. Conrad 
Schmitt, to consult on the project(National). 

When restoration began in 1 984, the courthouse was 8 1 years old and worth o\ or 
four million dollars("County Invests..."). Some things in the building needed to be 
changed. In order to comply with the building codes in Sycamore, a sprinkler system, 
alarm system, closed stairway, and handicapped provisions were installed, 1 o gain space 
for offices, the basement of the building was excavated to make the crawl space into B full 

basement to house the probation department, bringing the new square footage of the 
building to 41 ,000 square feet. To handle the extra volume of court cases, there was a 
courtroom added on the first floor and on the second floor(National ). 

Even with all these major changes, the courthouse still maintained its original 
majesty. While some new furniture was added, about 95% of the original furniture was 
refurbished and is still in use today. The original courtrooms on the second and third 
floors retained all of their original plasterwork, chandeliers, wainscoting, and beveled 
glass doors. The third floor courtroom still has its distinct stained glass skylight with a 
ten point star in the middle of it. This courtroom may look familiar as it was used to film 
the movie Will, a story about Watergate conspirator, G. Gordon Liddy in 1 98 1 (National). 
Other things that have stayed the same through the remodel are the outside the building. 
The Civil War monument that stands on the front lawn is still there just like it was in 
1876. The monument even predates the building itself. The metal lamps that stand on 
each side of the front doors were refinished but have been there since 1905. one of the 
finishing touches of the original construction("Courthouse Built"). 

After the over two-million-dollar renovation was done, there was a rededieation 
ceremony held("Historic..."). Over 400 people turned out in the scorching 100-degrec 
heat for the event("Re-dedication..."). The reviews were overwhelmingly unanimous, in 
almost every article written on the subject; the original quote from the 1905 Sycamore 
Prospectus was printed. "There is not a building in the state that is better adapted, more 
substantially built, or furnished in better taste"(National). This grand building helped to 
shape the modern-day city of Sycamore and is a source of pride for all of DeKalb Count) . 

DeKalb Count\*s 
second courthouse 


DeKalb County's present courthouse .is it looked in I9W 


"1903 Courthouse Meets 1964 Standards." Sycamore Republican News 13 November 

1964, No Page. 
"Corner Stone Laid." Sycamore Tribune 30 Oetober 1903, No Page. 
"County Invests in its History, Future." DeKalb Daily Chronicle 3 Mareh 1985, No Page. 
"Courthouse Built in Lasting Design." Sycamore Northern Star 1 9 April 1 989. No Page. 
"Courthouse Case Settled." Sycamore Tribune 23 December 1904, No Page. 
"Courthouse Fight in DeKalb County." Lee County Times 6 August 1903, No Page. 
"Courthouse Groomed for Anniversary." Sycamore Tribune 1 October 1 954, No Page. 
DeKalb County's Present Courthouse. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Phyllis 

Kelly and the Joiner History Room. Date of Photo unknown. 
DeKalb County's Second Courthouse. Photographer unknown. Acquired from Phyllis 

Kelley and the Joiner History Room. Date of Photo unknown. 
"Historic Courthouse Modernized." Sycamore Republican News 16 April 1986. Page 6. 
National Bank and Trust Company of Sycamore. "DeKalb County Courthouse." 

Sycamore Public Library, Courthouse History File. No Date. 
"Re-dedication Ceremonies Held." Sycamore Public Library. Courthouse History File. No 

"Soldiers' Monument." Sycamore True Republican 12 December 1896, No Dale. 
"Will Defy the Law." Sycamore True Republican 4 October 1903. No Date. 
"Work is Resumed, Relics are Found.** Sycamore True Republican 14 August 1941, No 


An American Dream Becomes Reality for 
Anthony DiTullio 

Dawn Decker, author 
1 3 May 2002 

DiTullio's Italian Imports and Specialty Foods 

Est. 1994 

Dawn Decker 
English 101 NDF1 
13 May 2002 

An American Dream Becomes Reality for Anthony DiTullio 

DiTullio's Italian Imports and Specialty Foods occupies the first floor of what was once 
a beautiful two-story house in an old Swedish neighborhood. Shelter to families and 
businesses since 1902, it has sustained many changes over the years. It was a residential 
home for 56 years and then transformed into a store-front with two rear apartments. 

Owned and operated by Anthony DiTullio, it is an asset to our community. It is a 
refreshing escape from the impersonal franchises that are dominating America. Its small 
town charm makes customers feel at home and takes one back to a time when people 
knew their neighbors by name and took the time to get to know one another. 

In 1892, the land was first owned by A J. Anderson. Lincoln subdivision was sub- 
divided but no homes existed yet. In 1902, the Winnebago County platt book was 
Updated and gives ownership to Hollis H. Bowen, farmer. The platt book does not show 
that any homes exist at this time. However, the home is listed in the 1902 Rockford City 
Directory . Mr. Bowen owned a rectangular-shaped area of land bounded by Broadwa> . 
7 th , Hollister, and 18 th . He spent the greater part of his life conducting a farm on the 
outskirts of town ("Hollis..."). Most likely it was a corn or wheat farm (MolyneauxV 

Peter (Netherlands) and Hilda (Sweden) Kraker were the first homeowners. This area 
was the outskirts of town and the parking lot adjacent to the house was the neighborhood 

dump before the town had garbage pick-up (Anderson). The neighborhood was called 
Lincoln subdivision and its address was listed as 20 th cor 13 th . It was later changed to 
1306 20 th . Then finally, in 1915, it was changed for the last time to its current address of 
1402 20 th . 

Peter came to Rockford in 1892, at the age of 25(Kraker). Hilda was exactly one year 
older than Peter. She came to Rockford in 1 893 and they married in 1 896 ("Mrs. 
Hilda..."). The couple lived together for over 40 years. Sadly, Hilda died in the home in 
1940 ("Mrs. Hilda..."). Peter's last year there was 1942. He then relocated to the Nelson 
Hotel and remained there untill his death in 1952( Rockford City Directories , Kraker). 

Peter and Anthony share similar qualities. Both were/are hard-working individuals 
who had the desire to become self-employed. Peter Kraker worked in the furniture 
industry for 25 years ( Rockford City Directories ) and then became owner and president of 
Kraker Moulding Company (Kraker). 

Following the Krakers, the home was occupied by Neoma and Harrison Shear from 
1944 - 1947. The third residential occupant was Earl Swanson, who lived there from 
1948 - 1957. Ironically, the obituaries for the Bowens, Kraker and Swanson do not 
mention any children ("Hollis..", "Mrs. Bowen...", "Peter..", "Mrs.Hilda..", "Earl..."). 

In 1958, the transformation from residential to commercial site took place. Don 
Anderson, architect, framed the big front porch and built the storefront for its now owner: 
Rudy Gustafson, a real estate mogul. The home now functioned as a storefront with two 
rear apartments. Rudy had a real estate office in the storefront and lived in one of the rear 
apartments. That same year, Rudy convinced Don to buy the Kirn that sat behind the 


house. Don immediately tore down the dilapidated barn and built an office building for his 
architectural firm. 

Don shared several memories of the neighborhood from his childhood days. The 
highlight was the tornado that tore through Rockford in 1 928 when he was eight years 
old. It was horribly destructive and tragic, taking 14 lives. Three of them were teenage 
boys from the same family. The twister lifted roofs off of houses and houses off of their 
foundations. Dangerously close to Lincoln subdivision at 20 th and 7 th a house was turned 
upside down. Six-year old Iona Larson was picked up and whipped through the air for 
nearly three blocks. "She was dazed but suffered only slight bruises and cuts" ("23 
years. . ."). A furniture factory was flattened and it took the crew two-and-half days to 
search for the missing. Six bodies were found in the rubble. The event was such big news 
that over 1 00,00 people from surrounding areas came to Rockford to view the damage 
("23 years..."). 

Rudy and Don were neighbors until the early '80s. Victor Nafranowicz purchased the 
structure from Rudy and rented the space to various beauty salons. In 1994, Anthony 
Ditullio purchased the building and followed his dream of being self-employed. He stated 
that " I always wanted to be my own boss and control my own fate" (DiTullio). He 
enjoys food and being with people and knew he wanted to go in that direction. Anthom 
also stated that DiTullio's is a "stepping stone business to start off and open doors to do ■ 
lot of different things." He knows it is important to do something that you love and being 
around people makes him happy. 



Anthony had his work cut out for him. The storefront needed to be completely 
remodeled. The floors were lined with wall-to-wall green shag carpet. The windows 
were damaged and boarded up. The walls were yellow from cigarette smoke and the large 
room was divided into sections with partitions used by the beauty salon. About midway 
through the nine month period, he started working part-time so he could focus more of his 
time and energy on the store (DiTuilio). Friends and family offered a lot of guidance and 
support. Most importantly, his wife provided emotional support. 

Anthony's two favorite pastimes are cooking and talking. As a child he visited Italian 
markets with his family and as a young college grad he worked in Chicago at a couple of 
gourmet shops that specialized in chocolates, wine and cheeses. These were part-time 
positions that he had while working full-time in his career field. He was always thinking of 
things that he would do differently, improvements that he would make, and had a 
passion to put these ideas into action. 

Ultimately, Anthony's ideas paved his road to success. One of its most endearing 
qualities is the father/son team. In today's society it is unusual to see a father/son team 
working together. This adds to the character of Distillers' . It is heart-warming to see the 
same friendly, familiar faces. If one likes to cook and experiment with different foods, it is 
a fabulous place to find unique items that the massive grocery stores do not carry. 

A great place to stop in for lunch, customers have the option of dining in or earn -out. 
Joe D'acquisto has been a customer for six years. He visits about five times a year to 
stock up on items such as: Italian sausage, olive oil, anchovies and olives. 1 le is a 
Sicilian that enjoys cooking Italian dishes and appreciates the quality of food Pi lillios 

Decker- 5 
provides. "You don't come here just to shop." stated Joe. "They make you feel at 
home." He enjoys the camaraderie and friendship and sharing about their families. 

DiTullio's is a fine establishment full of life and character. The food is superb and 
prepared with care. Upon entry customers are greeted by Anthony and Tony's cheerful 
smiles. Their charming personalities shine through and embrace customers the moment 
they walk through the door. If the Krakers could see what became of their old home they 
would be proud. Anthony DiTullio has succeeded in maintaining its dignity and grace. 

Works Cited 

"23 Years Ago This Week, Tornado Spread Havoc Here" Rockford Register Star , 9 

Sept. 1951 
A Tasty Array of Foods. 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
Anderson, Don. Telephone Interview. 18 February 2002. 
Anthony DiTullio, owner. 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
Balsamic vinegar/olive oil. 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
Beverages and coffee beans. 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
Cooking Oils 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
D'Aquisto, Joe. Personal Interview. 24 April 2002. 
Dennis Thomas &Joe D'aquisto, Janesville, Wisconsin 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
DiTullio, Anthony. Telephone Interview. 1 9 January 2002. 
DiTullio, Anthony. Personal Interview. 5 February 2002. 
DiTullio, Anthony. Personal Interview. 29 March 2002. 

DiTullio's Italian Imports and Specialty Foods, Est. 1994 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
"Earl Swanson" Rockford Morning Star , 5 October 1965. 
"Hollis Bowen Burial Wednesday Afternoon" Rockford Daily Register Gazette , 23 April 

Inside the front door . Photograph. Dawn Decker, 24 April 2002. 
Joe and Dennis Enjoy of a Cup of Espresso after Lunch 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 

"Kraker" Rockford Register - Republic , 13 Nov. 1952. 

Molyneaux, John. Personal Interview. 16 Feb. 2002 

"Mrs. Hilda C. Kraker" Rockford Register - Republic , 29 Nov. 1940. 

"Mrs. Bowen Dies Today:Ill 2 Years" Rockford Daily Register Gazette , 7 Aug. 1922. 

Pasta A - Z . Photograph. Dawn Decker, 24 April 2002. 

"Peter Kraker, Former Head Of Firm, Dies" Rockford Register Republic , 12 November 

Rockford City Directories. 1902 - 1942. 
Tony Ditullio 

Personal photo by the author. 24 April 2002. 
Vic Nafranowicz, telephone message, March 1, 2002. 

Tony DiTullio 

Dennis Thomas & Joe D'acquisto, Janesv ille, Wisconsin 

* ffV ; 7^ 

wn'u ■■ w c ■i>TivFi 

Inside the front door 

A tasty array of foods 

Anthony DiTullio, owner 

Joe and Dennis enjoy a eup of espresso after lunch 

Joe D'aquisto comes to DiTullio's about five times a \ ear. 1 le 

stated , "You don't come here just to shop." 1 le enjoys the 

camaraderie and friendship. "They make you feel at home." 

Cooking oils 

Balsamic vinegar/Olive oil 

Beverages/Coffee beans 

Pasta A - Z 


Carry-otrt Menu 

C815) 399-2080 

1402 20 th Street • Rockfor4, IL 61104 

Italian Sandwiches 

DiTullio's Italian Sub $5.00 

Genoa salame, mortadella, mild cappocollo, provolone 
cheese, and DiTullio's sandwich dressing. 

Hot & Spicy Sub $5.00 

Hot and mild cappocollo, Toscano salame, swiss cheese, and 
PiTullio's sandwich dressing. 

Torino, Tonno, Tonno $4.75 

Yellowfin tuna in olive oil, thin slices of fresh onion, and 
DiTullio's sandwich dressing. 

DiTullio's Prosciutto Di Parma $5.50 

Pfosciui±o Di Parma with fresh mozzareila, basil, tomato, 
and extra virgin olive oil. 

Fresh Mozzarella $4.75 

Fresh mozzarella topped with basil, tomato, and extra virgin 
olive oil. 

Roasted Peppers $5.50 

Fire roasted sweet peppers, marinated artichokes, fresh 
mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. 

Grilled Veggie Panini $5.50 

Grillled vegetables and cheese on tomato foccacia bread. 

(Servecj hot during lunch) 

Grilled Veggie & Meat $5.50 

Grilled vegetables, cappocollo, and cheese on tomato 

foccacia bread. 

(Served hot during lunch) 

"Extras are available for an additional charge** 




Bottled Water $.99 

Iced Tea $.99 

Juice $ .99 

Espresso single $1.50 double $1.75 

Cappuccino $2.75 

Latte $2.75 


Soup Of the Day (served during lunch) 

Cup $1.89 

Bowl $2.89 

Large $3.50 

Large $3.50 

Large $2.50 

Olive Salad 
Small $2.50 

Mixed Olive Salad 
Small $2.50 

Marinated Artichokes 
Small $1.50 

Olive Oil Potato Chips 
Bag $1.25 

Old Salty's Potato Chips 
Bag $ .50 


Jumbo Cookies $1.25 

Chocolate chunk peanut butter, and cinnamon oatrrea' 

Cannoli $1.75 

Fresh, cream filled Italian pastry. 

Biscotti Singles $1.00 

Chocolate or white-chocolate dipped biscotti. 

Ask about pur catering and 
boxed lunch selections. 


Monday - Fridav IO)m-5piT) 
Sunday Closed 








Kim Levings 
English 101 
23 April 2002 

Fiorello's Pumpkin Patch, A Fall Tradition 

In the fall of 1985, Fiorello's Pumpkin Patch opened. "A little farm 
market on eight acres, a dream come true," said Frank Fiorello. "A labor of 
love is how it all began." When the Pumpkin Patch first opened it contained 
a few hand-drawn wooden cut-outs, an old barn and lots of pumpkins. The 
Pumpkin Patch has started a fall tradition for many families and become a 
Rockford area favorite. Come and enjoy this tradition every fall (Fiorello 

To locate the patch, take Illinois Route 173 east six miles into 
Caledonia. Proceeding east past the Caledonia Road intersection two miles. 
Fiorello's Pumpkin Patch is located at 3178 Route 173 on the left side of the 
road. It is a big, white farmhouse standing among several trees with a chain- 
link fence surrounding the yard. 

In the spring of 1985, there stood only an old farmhouse and big red 
barn with some out buildings. By fall of that same year it had become a 

Levin gs - 2 

Halloween wonderland. After spending months looking for that special 
place, Frank and Susan Fiorello located it just outside of Caledonia (Fiorello 

This small farm became a rebirth and a dream come true for Frank 
Fiorello. The artist/author by trade, became interested in drawing over four 
decades ago. As a child of eight, Frank faced a grave illness and the loss of 
use of both of his legs due to a battle with Polio. Hospitalized for two 
months, family and friends encouraged Frank's interest in drawing. Many 
years ago a seed was planted to grow (Madigan 1997). 

From there, Frank's interest grew which led him to pursue an art 
degree in college, followed by many jobs in the Rockford area; his last one 
at the Rockford Register Star as a cartoonist/newsroom illustrator. During 
his college years he worked on a pumpkin farm outside of Chicago where he 
painted signs, pumpkins and gourds on weekends. Now married with two 
small girls, Frank looked forward to the future and making his boyhood 
dreams come true. The idea of his own pumpkin patch took root in his mind 





Levings - 3 

While making plans with his wife, Susan, his dream started to grow (Doyle 

Getting started was the easy part. Frank and Susan knew what they 
were looking for. The hard part was finding it. After many months of 
searching, they found the perfect location known today as Fiorello's 
Pumpkin Patch. They found an old farmhouse located on eight acres of land 
with good barns and plenty of space to grow their dreams, just outside of 
Caledonia on Route 173 (Fiorello Interview). 

The spring of 1985 started with its ups and downs. A big problem 
arose with approval for rezoning of the farm. Battling the Boone County 
officials for over three months to get business permits to open the recreation 
farm was tougher than the Fiorellos expected. "We've had a lot of obstacles 
on this project," explained Frank, "But if we don't make it, at least we know 
that we tried." 

After receiving approval in late spring of 1985, the Fiorello's moved 
into the house. They began to make improvements to the bams and other 
buildings, pouring cement floors in some and bringing others up to health 









Levings - 4 

codes. Turning half of the farm itself into a parking lot, they constructed 
pathways throughout the park. They planted a garden of corn and pumpkins 
to demonstrate to the children how they are grown, adding autumn, 
Halloween and pumpkin themes along the way, to give the patch just the 
right touch (Fiorello Interview)(Madigan 1997). 

The changing of the leaves marked the beginning of fall 1985. Frank 
and his family put the finishing touches on the old barn, now the Harvest 
Barn. This is where one finds a wide assortment of Halloween novelties, fall 
arts, crafts and decorations. There are plenty of treats there including apples, 
hot cider, honey, nuts, cookies, and everyone's favorite taffy apples (Gilmer 

There is much more to come and see, such as pony rides and farm 
critters to pet and feed. This writer's daughter rode her first pony at the 
Pumpkin Patch when she was only one year old. These are some of the main 
memories this writer will hold dear to her heart forever. A witch walks about 
passing out apples, and their many hand-drawn wooden cut-outs of friends 
and animals. There are even cut-outs of scenes for children to peck then 




Levings - 5 

faces through. It's a great place for a picture! 

In the years following the opening in 1985, Frank and Susan made 
improvement throughout the park. They added entertainment in the big tent 
on the weekends, enlarging the corn maze, and haunted shed, and opening a 
cafe inside the Harvest Barn, with a bigger variety of snacks including 
"secret family recipe" chili (Fiorello Interview). 

Christmas of 1993 began another family tradition. In partnership with 
Lee and Arleta Juliano, the patch extended the season through Christmas 
with lighted trees and more holiday favorites (Doyle Bl ). 

Around this time Frank, started his book-writing career. Frank 
pondered ideas to write a book about. That fall he sat and watched a child 
and his family picking out the "perfect pumpkin", examining one then 
another to find the best pumpkin in the bunch. Frank's first book was 
inspired by this, "Searching for the Perfect Pumpkin" (Fiorello Interview). 

Levings - 6 

His next book, "Pumpkin Patch Cats", was actually based on cats that lived 
on the farm over the years and their adventures among the patch. Talking 
with Frank, this writer learned how his next book got its start. "The 
Christmas season was wonderful, the barn decorated with Christmas trees 
and lights scattered throughout. What excited the children most was the cats 
hiding among the Christmas trees. It's amazing that a small furry barn cat 
can upstage even Santa Claus," recalls Frank (Fiorello Interview). 

Along with his books, that he signs personally for each child that 
purchases one, he paints pumpkins and gourds inside the Pumpkin Paint'n 
Hut. Frank holds court in this makeshift art room, welcoming all to enter his 

Other attractions one might see at the patch are old-fashioned wagon 
rides, face painting and the giant jumping pumpkin. Many outside snack bars 
can fulfill any cravings for fall delights. A full selection of Halloween 
costumes can also be found in the Harvest Barn; some to scare and some to 
delight the littlest or biggest in your family (Fiorello Interview). 

Levings - 7 

Many family and friends of this writer have visited the patch since its 
opening. Cathy Taylor recalls, "I've been coming since the opening and it 
gets bigger and better every year. We wouldn't miss a year. I have many 
pictures of all my kids here and cherish each one. They grow up so fast. 
Now I even have a grandson to bring this year!" (Taylor Interview). 

The Pumpkin Patch holds a special place in this writer's heart, visiting 
yearly for the past six years, taking pictures and storing memories of her 
daughter climbing among the pumpkins and standing next to the scarecrow 
sign, marking the passing of another year. Truly fall is not complete for this 
writer without a visit to the Pumpkin Patch. Cookies to be shared and 
pictures of painted faces are just some of the wonderful things we have done 
and share as a family every fall. 

This past year, 2001, the Fiorellos sold the Pumpkin Patch to new 
owners Marc and Jean Coon. When this writer asked why, Frank replied, 
"It's not as much fun as it was in the beginning." Problems with equipment 
and hiring help each fall had become increasingly harder for the Fiorellos. 
"Much better to get out now, before our hearts weren't in the business 

Levings - 8 

anymore", said Frank. "Passing the torch to younger more energetic couple 
seems the right thing to do" (Fiorello Interview). 

As fall of 2002 approaches, the new owners are getting ready for their 
first opening at the patch. This writer spoke with Marc Coon about some of 
the new and exciting things in store for the patch this fall. Marc said, "We 
are opening an eight-acre corn maze in August for the older children and 
improving the food selections for older adults. My wife and myself just want 
to give a good value and fun day for the family's dollars" (Coon Interview). 

Sometimes out of great despair come some of life's greatest rewards. 
A simple farm to many, but a rebirth for one. Frank Fiorello faced great 
adversity in his young life, but has overcome that and left something for 
many to enjoy. Come to the Pumpkin Patch and start your own family 
tradition with your children. 

Works Cited 

Artist At Work. Photo by Author. 1998. 

Barrie, Vance. Personal Interview. January 29, 2002. 

Coon, Marc. Phone Interview. April 20, 2002. 

Did These Guys Eat Breakfast? Photo by Author. 2000. 

Doyle, Mike. "Pumpkin Man." Rockford Register Star, Oct. 1995, sec.B:l-3. 

Fiorello, Frank. Phone Interview. March 26, 2002. 

Fore, Allison. "Pumpkin Patch Attracts Repeat Visitors." Boone County Ink. 

September 17, 2001. 14. 
Gilmer, Maureen. "Fall Comes Alive at PUMPKIN PATCH." Belvidere 

Daily Republic. September 24, 1985. N/A. 
Greef, Judy. Personal Interview. February 2002. 
"Hay" Big Fella. Photo by Author. 2001 . 
How About A Hand? Photo by Author. 2000. 

How Tall This Fall? Photo by Author. 1997. 
How Tall This Fall? Photo by Author. 1998. 
How Tall This Fall? Photo by Author. 1999. 



How Tall This Fall? Photo by Author. 2000. 

How Tall This Fall? Photo by Author. 2001 . 

Isn't She A Cutie? Photo by Author. 1998. 

Madigan, Charles. "To Frank Fiorello, Pumpkins Symbolize a New Life." 

Chicago Tribune. October 23, 1997. N/A. 
Mound of Pumpkins. Photo by Author. 1997 

Paige's First Visit, With Cousins Zach and Allison. Photo by Author. 1996. 
Paige's First Pony Ride. Photo by Author. 1997. 
Ride On Spice. Photo by Author. 1999. 
Taylor, Cathy. Personal Interview. March 18, 2002. 
The Pumpkin Paint'n Hut. Photo by Author. 2000. 
What A Pumpkin! Photo by Author. 1998. 


What A Scary Crew! Photo by Author. 1999. 









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15 Ma> :oo: 

English 101 

Laurie Wedding ton 
English 101 
3 May 2002 
Archival Essay 

The Lafayette Hotel 

The Lafayette Hotel is a very big, elaborate hotel that holds a lot of historical 
memories. Before if became a hotel, it was a vacant lot used for a bomb shelter and to 
store food and medicine during the Civil War. Traveling east down West State and North 
Johnston Street about 21/2 miles, you will pass Rockford Rescue Mission. Go 
down two more additional blocks and make a right turn on Mulberry and Court Street. In 
the rectangular corner in between the empty building that has a for lease sign in the 
window and Suvillan Pub, sits the Lafayette Hotel. ["Jones, Leroy. "Interview] 

The exterior of the big four-story building has a big, black sign over the 
entranceway that says, "Hotel Entrance". On the right side of the building is a nameplate 
in Spanish writing 12 to 16 inches high that says, "The Lafayette Hotel/' Please beware 
of the bare scenery surrounding the building. There are no hedges, no scrub bushes, just 
plain black and gray color all around. Please do not expect to find private parking. There 
is only street parking, on a first come first serve basis. 

The hotel used and served a very good purpose during the Civil War. and a lot of 
very important influential groups of people engaged in a lot of activities there ["Jones. 
Leroy" Interview]. 

In the early 1900 the space for motion picture developers was limited for lodging 
and dining. At that time there were only two theaters used for motion pictures, The 

Times, and The Lafayette IBM building. Due to sufficient cash flow and the popularity of 
the Vaudeville artist motion pictures, Max Libeling began putting his thoughts of his 
dream into effect. There were a lot important people involved in the development of this 
business, such as Max Libeling, the original owner, Edward Levin, the architect, Sig. 
Mayor, president and managing director, Eric Nelson, chief clerk, Bernie Scott, telephone 
operator, Tom Sorenson, office manager, Ann Mormon, telephone relief operator, Louise 
Wilson, RAW Briton, auditor, along with Forrest Cassette, Armband A. Dour, Miss 
Hobbs. ["Turpoff, 167"] 

The Security Building Company, presently at 1016 Charles Street in Rockford. 
broke the ground on this site in 1927, and began the construction of the hotel. The 
purchase of the building was $400,000. To begin the roofing, millwork, wall covering, 
window ventilating, plumbing, wiring, and plaster, the overhead cost would be $40,000 
for structure and $50,000 for interior decoration. ["Thousands at The Lafayette Opening 

In 1930, a rapid decline in Libeling's finances came about when the popularity of 
the motion pictures was no longer successful. The Great Depression caused a delay in 
remodeling and Max had to file bankruptcy and sell the huge oil painting of the hotel to 
recall the debt. In 1937, the hotel was well on it way to success again, thanks to the sale of 
the hotel portrait. The remodeling was completed. It consisted of Spanish architectural 
design on the front of the building. The hotel became a place for tourists to visit and 
brought more attraction to the state, and lodged Eleanor Roosevelt. Jud> Garland, and 

Hope, Will Rogers, and Jack Benny. {Jones, Leroy. Interview) 

In 1946, Walt Bittman, a local dentist, purchased the building for $260,00 and 
spent $250,000 on remodeling. The interior of the building was changed with 60 
guestrooms, 25 apartments for permanent residents. The lobby opened into a arcade of 
office space and the basement was used for recreation and for a ballroom. Halfway 
through the remodeling debt began to pile up. Mr. Bittman had to change directors and 
president. ["Lafayette Take On Modern Look"]. 

Leroy Jones, current manager, was promoted to executive vice-president. He 
received his first orders from Mr. Bittman to cut overhead cost from $10,500 to S7.500 
per month. He began by converting transient rooms, and deleted the bellboys. The current 
hotel holds attractions for only guess, businessmen, and older people. ["The Sale Of The 

In 1977, Mr. Jones decided to purchase a liquor license because the hotel was in 
lease with the "Executive Lounge" which was operated by a separate corporation. The 
liquor license was transferred to "The A Frame" in July, since the hotel had not actual 1\ 
owned a license since 1964 when the owner sold it. The council rejected the proposal 
along with the alderman of the 14 th Ward, John McNamara, because the license had been 
sold and resold twice over. ["The Lafayette Hotel Denied Bar License"]. 

In 1996, the hotel caught on fire. The furniture in the first floor storage room 
contributed to the thick smoke. Four residents suffered from smoke inhalation, six people 
were injured and one fire suffered minor burns on the hands. They were all treated and 


released at a local hospital. Parthenios Luncheonette located at 132 North Church Street 
stayed open 21/2 hours longer, allowing the residents to stay there to keep warm, while 
the police chaplain paid for meals. ["No Cause Yet In Fire"]. 

The Lafayette Hotel, has undergone a lot of drastic changes financially and 
remodeling on several occasions. Due to good ownership and management, it has been in 
existence for the last 74 years and is still in excellent condition. This business has a well- 
known reputation for good extended stay, banquet facilities and providing affordable 
rates to accommodate the public need. Although the restaurant and bar no longer exist, 
the hotel is still a beautiful place that holds a lot of historical memories. Being in need of 
shelter, I would recommend this place, because of the friendly people, the dedicated time 
and effort put into the hotel to make it a success, the warm spirits of welcome you get 
when you walk through the door, and the manager don't mind calling security when 


Works Cited 

Jones, Leroy. Manager. Personal Interview Mar 2002 

Jones, Lisa. Desk Clerk. Personal Interview Mar 2002 

Jones, Lisa. Desk Clerk. Personal Interview April 2002 

"Lafayette Hotel Denied Bar License". Rockford Register Star 7-17-77 

"Lafayette Takes On Modern Look". Rockford Register Star 6-3-73 

u No Cause Yet In Fire At The Lafayette." Rockford Register Star 10-12-96 

"The Sale of Lafayette " Rockford Register Star 6-3-73 

Turpoff, Glenn. " They Too Cast Shadows ". Published by Northern 111. Building 

Contractor Association 2002 

"Thousands At The New Lafayette Opening Day ." Rockford Register Star 6-3-27 

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Leteena Hawthorne 
English 101 Section RRM 
24 April 2002 

Let's Talk it Out Youth Outreach Ministry 

The Let's Talk it Out Ministry at 1045 West State St. exists as an entity in the 
community of Rockford for youth of all ages. The Let's Talk it Out Ministry is used as a 
vehicle for the youth to come and share issues and challenges that they face daily, 
whether in the home, at school, with their peers, or on their jobs. 

Many people growing up and living in the Rockford area have known this 
building in the past as a Piggly Wiggly Grocery store, which came about in 1939 and 
existed until 1947. Twelve years later (1959) the building was used as a Pik-n-Save 
grocery store, which lasted till 1964 ( Rockford City Directory , City Hall Permit Dept.). 

In 1965, the year when one of the worlds greatest singer's, Nat King Cole. died, 
the Rockford Colonial Bakery bought the building and opened it as an Odonnell's 
Grocery Store. The O'Donnell store existed till 1974 (Rockford City Director). City Hall 
Permit Dept.). 

In that same year, 1974, the owncr( First National Bank and Trust Co.) was sent a 
notice reporting that the building was unsafe and to be demolished (Cit> I lall Permit 
Dept.), but a year later in 1975, it was bought and opened up as a store again. The name 

of the store was called Zamuto's grocery store and operated for three years (1978) 
(Rockford Crty Directory; City Hall Permit Dept.). 

In 1979, while a man by the name of Milt Barbee was considering opening up a 
Teen place/"Disco", at this building, Patricia Harris, the first black female to occupy a 
cabinet post in a Presidential Administration, was being sworn into office as Secretary of 
Health, Education and Welfare(retitled Health and Human Service). Ms. Harris replaced 
the ousted Joseph Califano. Ms. Harris was a lawyer, former Dean of Harvard University 
Law School, was also a former ambassador to Luxembourg, and the alternate delegate to 
the United Nations (Clifton). Ms. Harris was sworn in by Thurgood Marshall. Ms Harris 
became the first black female ever to hold a cabinet position in the United States when 
she became Secretary at Housing and Urban Development in 1977. Ms. Harris's term 
appeared to have lasted longer than Mr. Barbee's at the 1045 site, as the Teen Disco soon 

From the years of 1981-1982 the building was registered as a restaurant/club 
called the Twilight Zone (Rockford City Directory). 

From 1983-1988 the building was once again vacant. Then, in 1988. the Rock 
River Valley Distribution Center bought it and opened it up as a food pantry, to help 
many low- income families. The food pantry was in existence till 1991 ( Rockford City 
Directory ), when a man by the name of Sonny Crudup bought the building and opened it 
as a reception hall, although some say the building was used as a strip club. Mr. Crudup 
held on to the business until 1 998(Rockford City Directory ). 

Now the building belongs to the LTO Inc. agency, the acronym stands for Let's 
Talk it Out Not Act it Out. The agency is located at 1 045 West State St., which is a main 
street that runs east and west. 

The Let's Talk It Out building is a stand-alone single story building, beige in 
color. There is a large white sign angled towards West State St. sitting at the top of the 
building. The sign has black letters and a red triangle with the letters LTO going through 
the triangle. The words Let's Talk it Out Youth Outreach Ministry is also written on the 

The parking lot is black topped and it has a fence around it. Pull into the parking 
lot and enter through the doors facing West State St. After entering the building go to the 
office to the left and the director, Ralph Hawthorne, can help with any information or 
questions you may have pertaining to the organization. 

The Let's Talk it Out Ministry is a not-for-profit interdenominational youth 
outreach ministry that provides support and encouragement to at-risk youth on the west 
side of Rockford. 

The Ministry began as a result of Rockford experiencing a very high crime rate 
(Hawthorne, interview) along with Mrs. Estella Benford having a vision of children 
crying in the streets of Rockford (Benford, interview), and also Mr. Hawthorne's passion 
to reach out to the youth in Rockford. 

The Ministry began in Deliverance Crusaders Church at 2827 West State St., 
which didn't last long as the Youth began to tear the inside of the church up. The group 
moved to a store front in the old Rockford 1 londa buildiim located at 802 West State St.. 

where they stayed for two years. As the group grew larger, the ministry no longer had 
enough space (Ralph Hawthorne). 

One day, while in search for a new facility for the LTO Ministry, Estella Benford 
(the founder of LTO Inc.) went to a building located on Central and Elm St., which 
appeared to be vacant. While attempting to gain information about this building, she 
found that the building was not empty, but that it was a Masonic Temple and that it was 
not vacant or for sale at all (Benford interview). 

While inquiring about that building, Mrs. Benford was informed of a vacant 
building located at 1045 West State St. Mrs. Benford contacted Ralph Hawthorne 
(Executive Director of LTO) and shared this information with him. Mr. Hawthorne 
contacted the realtor and set up an appointment to see the inside of the building. Mrs. 
Benford and Mr. Hawthorne reported that after looking at the building they both knew 
that this was the building that they had been looking for. Mrs. Benford and Mr. 
Hawthorne received information that there was someone else interested in the building 
also, and, as a matter of fact, this couple wanted to use the building as a ministry also, 
only they wanted to use the building as a church (Hawthorne, interview). 

All of this was taking place while Ellis school was going through a facelift, as a 
part of fixing up the west side of Rockford (Benford, interview). Just as the Mayor of 
Rockford (Charles Box), the school board, and many others saw fit for the west side of 
Rockford to receive the great blessing of having a facelift, the realtor of the 1045 site, 
saw fit to be a blessing to Mrs. Benford and Mr. Hawthorne by giving them the privilege 
of purchasing the building. The realtor reported that he believed that there were alread\ 

enough churches on West State St. and that there were not enough agencies for the youth 
on the west side of Rockford (Hawthorne, interview). 

The Rockford community appeared to be very pleased with this leap of faith that 
Mr. Hawthorne and Mrs. Benford had, to help the Youth on the Westside of Rockford. 

The building was purchased in November of 1998, and immediately renovations 

On December 4,1998 the Rockford Register Star received information from Mr. 
Hawthorne, that LTO Inc. had begun renovations and for the Register Star to cover it. 
Mr. Hawthorne was interviewed pertaining to the new location, after moving from 802 
West State St.(the old Rockford Honda building). The reporter asked Mr. Hawthorne 
what would it take to get the ministry up and running, as a cry for help to the community 
of Rockford to help with the renovations. 

In the interview Mr. Hawthorne mentioned that the Ministry was in need of a lot 
of help, support, and materials from the community of Rockford. The next day the 
phones rang and the contributors and donators "came a runnin," with their time, money, 
and materials. There were donations and contributors from Youth Build Rockford who 
helped by gutting out the place. Cardinal Glass donated the glass for the office windows 
and put in new double glass doors. First Assembly of God Church Men's Group. 
Rosemont architect, Paul Swanson drew up the plan. Bob St. Clair of First Service 
Building and Remodeling did all the framework and drywall. Market Insurance gave 
financial support. 

• Bob Lindman of Lindman Carpet Manor donated all the carpet. 

The renovation started in December of 1998. There was paint peeling off of the 
walls, the wood was rotted, there was a musty odor in the place and there was old, musty, 
dirty carpet on the floor. The plumbing and electrical was bad, and the ceiling was 
falling and leaking. The scope of the renovations included all new walls using metal 
studs, insulation in exterior walls and above ceiling grid, finish dry wall on all walls, 
prime and paint walls, faucets, duplex wall outlets (30), fluorescent grid troffer light 
fixtures (28) with switches, bathroom exhaust fans (2) with switches vented outside, and 
hollow core mahogany doors (8) with frames and hardware. The total cost for 
renovations was over $55,000 dollars. The renovations were completed April in the year 
1999. In that same month the doors were open for the youth to see how God had blessed 
them, says Mr. Hawthorne. 

The mission of LTO Inc. is to establish and communicate effective strategies for 
developing healthy lifestyles in youth, families, and communities. The Let's Talk it Out 
Ministry is a not-for-profit interdenominational youth outreach ministry that provides 
support and encouragement to at- risk youth. The ministry exists as a refuge for area 
youth in the time of need. LTO reaches out and provides help to youth from broken 
homes, abusive families, gangs, drugs and a host of other situations. 

Let's Talk it Out has many programs to offer. They have the LTO outreach 
ministry for youth 1 1-19 years of age, where youth come and talk it out. The HOT II 
program is for youth 16-21 years of age who have dropped out of school. Project 
H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Excel) is a creative program that encourages youth to 
express the positive alternative to violence and harmful behavior through skits, poems, 
songs, rap, and other art forms. Kids 4 Christ, children 5-10, learn Bible scriptures and 

self discipline. There is an anger management a program geared toward youth 11-19 who 
have difficulty with anger issues and, parenting classes which teaches young parents how 
to take care of and to interact with their children. They also have a program called TWT, 
Teens Working Together, a volunteer service in which teens help senior citizens and 
people who have disabilities, while learning valuable skills. Lastly there is a summer 
academy for children ages 5-10 which is a drop off site where the children go on field 
trips and have educational play activities. 

This awesome ministry has touched thousands of youth in the eight years 
of its existence and has the potential and expectations to expand in other cities and 
beyond, says Mr. Hawthorne. 

Aaron Raglin is a 16-year-old youth who is involved in the Let's Talk it Out 
Ministry. Aaron is the son of a single parent; he came from a troubled background of 
drugs and alcohol abuse. He accepted Christ at the age of 1 2 years, but walked away 
from God. Aaron stated that he felt his biggest need was to be accepted and so became 
one of those people who was trying to run with the worldly crowd. "Instead of being 
accepted for who I am, I was always having to do what 1 thought they wanted me to do to 
be accepted. I thought if I could impress people, they would like me and respect me: 
Smoke a joint, go out with certain girls, do whatever it takes to make that impression. 1 
thought it would eventually reach a point where my friends would like me for me. but 
that point never came. That's why I thank God for Let's Talk it Out. a place where people 

like myself can go to find truth, love, and acceptance by people who really understand 
and care". 

Tom Galen, a businessman, reports that he had never heard of Let's Talk it Out or 
Kids 4 Christ until one day the director of Let's Talk it Out Ministry visited his adult 
Sunday school class to share his stirring testimony of God's grace in his life and his 
vision for the Ministry. Mr. Galen reports, the Ministry is reaching out in these critical 
last days to one of the most difficult and often neglected groups in our society-inner 
youth. LTO is not merely concerned with the temporal well-being of the kids involved, 
but their eternal welfare, first and foremost." 

In conclusion the Let's Talk it Out Ministry is the only building on the West side 
of Rockford with a talk show setting, for youth to come and share whatever it is they are 
facing good or bad. This ministry is a place where these youth can finally speak out and 
know that they are being listened to, and heard, and not told "shut up you don't know 
what your talking about" or "I don't have time I'm too busy right now" (several youth). 
The Let's Talk it Out Ministry has become a milestone in Rockford area. And with the 
building's location and the accessibility for nearby youth it makes it easy for the youth to 
attend. The ministry reminds the youth that they are somebody and what they say does 
matter and that they don't have to act out in violent ways, but that they can talk it out and 
not act it out. 


Work Cited 

Assembly area photographer unknown. 1998. 

Assembly area photographer unknown. 1998. 

Assembly area (photo by Leteena Hawthorne). April, 2002. 

Bathroom 1998. 

Benford, Estella. Personal interview, Mar. 22, 02. 

Benford, Estella. Personal interview, Mar. 26, 02. 

Benford, Estella. Personal Interview, April 12, 02. 

Black top parking lot (photo by Leteena Hawthorne). April, 2002. 

Daniel Clifton, D K Publishing Chronology Book (Millennium 20 th Century day by day). 

(N. King Cole) p. 931, Patricia Harris p. 1 159 
Diane, Applications for Plumbing, Electrical, and Inspection Information and Cards 

City Hall (Permit Dept.). 
"Donors Pitch in to Youth Ministry". Rockford Register Star; Dec. 19, 1998 (Local 
section p.4A). 

Fenced in Parking lot (photo by Leteena Hawthorne), April, 2002. 
Flower garden by Parking lot (photo by Leteena Hawthorne) April, 2002. 
Front entrance photographer unknown 1 998 
Front entrance photographer unknown 1998 
Front entrance (photo by Leteena Hawthorne), April. 2000 
Front entrance April, 2002. 


Front west wall photographer unknown. 1998. 

Galen, Tom. LTO News Letter, no date. 

Hallway to classes (photo by Leteena Hawthorne). April, 2002. 

Hallway to offices ( photo by Leteena Hawthorne). April, 2002. 

Hallway to offices photographer unknown. 1998. 

Hawthorne Ralph, Personal interview. Feb. 20,02. 

Hawthorne Ralph, Personal interview. Mar. 22, 02. 

Hawthorne Ralph, Personal interview. April 3,02. 

Hawthorne Ralph, Personal interview. April 4,02. 

Hawthorne, Ralph. Personal interview. April 1 1 , 02. 

Ladies bathroom photographer unknown. 1998. 

Molyneaux, John. Personal interview. March. 

Parking lot before black top, (rear) photographer unknown. 1998 

Parking lot before black top photographer unknown. 1 998 

Raglin, Aaron. LTO News Letter, no date. 

Ramone, Personal interview. April 12,02. 

Rockford City Direc tory, 1939-2001 . 

Secretary Office April, 2002. 

Side entrance April, 2002. 

"Youth Ministry Needs Building Supplies". Rockford Register Star , Dec 5.1998 (Local 

section p. 4A). 












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Lincoln Middle School 

English 101 

Jason Hufford 

May 14,2002 

Rock Valley College 

Jason Hufford 
English 101 
30 April, 2002 

Lincoln Middle School 

Lincoln Middle School in Rockford, Illinois continues to stand as a well-known 
landmark for the Rockford area. Even after celebrating it's 75 lh anniversary, Lincoln is 
still the largest and most recognized junior high school in Illinois' second largest city 
(Stalter). It is hard to believe that after all of these years, the school's physical 
appearance has not changed, while the surrounding area has. This is part of the reason 
why Lincoln Middle School holds so much historical value to the city of Rockford. 

In the early 1920s, all of the Rockford schools were filled over capacity. Students 
were jammed into classrooms and had to learn while being crowded. Most the children 
seemed to be on the West Side of Rockford because of the west location of Roosevelt 
Middle School. In 1924, Roosevelt Junior High School was opened to Rockford's West 
Side. So, in 1926, the East Side responded by opening another junior high school 

This started the construction of a large school on the East Side which w as to be 
named Lincoln Middle School. This expensive project was inspired by a group o\ 
scholars from Berkeley University. They started this project because of an argument. 
The argument was that traditional Kindergarten through S n grade schools began 
preparation for college too late. The transition from grade school lo high school was too 
abrupt. So the Berkeley educators suggested a 6-3-3 format, The fust six years would be 
considered grade school. The follow ing three years would be called middle school or 


junior high. Then the final three years would be considered high school (Turpo ff p. 49- 

This new concept caused a debate in the community. Most parents were used to 
their seventh and eight grade children looking after their younger siblings. The guardians 
felt the new structure could hurt their family. Eventually, the parents'protests were 
discarded and every one was forced to accept the new concept. The Rock ford School 
Board approved the junior high concept in 1922. The final drafting plans for Lincoln 
Middle School then took place. Taxpayers then began pitching in money for the 
expensive project (Turpoff p.49-50). 

The new middle school became the largest and most expensive school in the 
Rockford area. Lincoln has four stories of educational classrooms. There is a large 
gymnasium on the lower level and a library with a skylight. The school was built on a 
busy street on the other side of the Rock River from Roosevelt. A large empty lot in a 
diversely populated area of Rockford was chosen for the "first million dollar school 
(Rockfordiana Files)." 

The school was named after our sixteenth President, Abraham 1 mcoln. This 
middle school provided quite an awakening for the East Side of Rockford. The school 
was built by Holmquist & Peterson and acquired a price tag of $1,148,000, which is equal 
to over twenty-five million dollars today. With this kind of cost the school was instantl) 
criticized. After everyone read about the physical design and saw all of the amenities the 
school had to offer, the citizens' minds were changed. Some of the amenities included a 


pool, full size gym, and a library with a skylight. Although the costs were extremely 
high, the amenities were developed. Rockford then became the pacesetter in the state of 
Illinois in terms of the "middle school" model. Most of the other Illinois communities 
waited about thirty more years before creating the junior high concept (Rockfordiana 
Files "Rockford's New Middle School"). 

In 1930, Rockford was hit hard by the Great Depression. This caused a drop in 
population, which in turn, reflected on the number of students attending junior high. 
Rockford's population dropped down from 85,828 to 84,687. Banks closed, car sales 
stopped, and thousands of families went on relief. In 1936, things start to look upward. 
City buses replaced the electric streetcars. By the year 1940, the economy started to 
come back around and the population started to go back up. Now with the economy and 
population rising, the schools became overcrowded. So the Board of Education started a 
three million-dollar program to build three new schools. A year later. East and West 
Senior High Schools were opened. A junior high school by the name of Washington \\ as 
also opened. 

By the mid 1940s, the surrounding area of Lincoln Middle School started to 
develop. Swedish American Hospital was built next door on the West Side of the school. 
The north, south, and east side of the school became surrounded by a residential 
neighborhood. By now, most of Rockford's major city streets had been developed. 1 he 
city buses were being utilized to transport people to home. work, and e\ en school. 

Throughout the next forty-plus years. I incoln Middle School became over 
crowded. The construction was originally approved for about 1,400 students. B\ 1969, 


Lincoln was educating about 1 ,900 students. Later on, another middle school was created 
on the East Side by the name of Jefferson. Even then, the East Side was expanding too 
quickly for these two schools to support all of the children that needed an education. The 
Rockford Board of Education then obtained voter approval and received a SI 7-million 
dollar bond. This bond allowed Rockford to create two new junior high schools on the 
east side in order to relieve crowding (Rockfordiana Files "Overcrowding"). 

Lincoln Middle School is now over 75 years old and the large building has not 
fallen victim to any major structural changes. This is why Lincoln carries along so much 
historical value as one of Rockford's historical landmarks. Just recently, the school 
received some minor changes to its presence, but nothing major. In the year 2000, there 
was a new colorful sign placed on the front lawn. The new sign can be seen lit up at 
night while driving down the traffic-infested Charles Street. The large structure is also 
currently receiving all new doors. According to Sjostrom Construction, the school board 
is currently in the process of purchasing land north of the school in order to expand on 
the parking area. It is amazing that such a large, historic structure can go so long with 
such little physical maintenance. 

Along with the historic value of Lincoln, also comes many memories. In 1 1 >45. 
Beverly Roose remembers walking about two miles everyday to attend 1 incoln Middle 
School, although Beverly would catch a ride to school on the bi t tori \ cold days. Mrs. 
Roose also recalls being very crowded in her classes. There w ere some classes in w hich 
students would share small desktops. Beverly said, "Children toda\ have DO idea how 
lucky they are to be surrounded by such a comfortable learning cn\ uonment." 


In 1985, Faith Bennett recalls a teacher's strike at Lincoln Middle School. Mrs. 
Bennett also remembers junior high as a great time of her life. Faith said, "Junior high 
was one of the best times of my life. There were no responsibilities and not a worry in 
the world." Faith misses being able to come home from school to go outside and play 
with her friends. Faith also recalls being apart of Lincoln's Lapidary Club. In this club, 
students polished and smoothed stones in order to use them as jewelry ( Abe's Album ). 
Finally, Mrs. Bennett remembers the school's football team going undefeated. They won 
the Junior High School Championship in 1985. 

In 1991, Jason Hufford recalls getting into his first and hopefully his last fistfight. 
A student kept flicking his ear on the school bus. Jason asked the annoying student to 
stop. The other student did not stop and Jason was forced to take action. Mr. Hufford 
said, "I could not take the immaturity anymore, so I stood up and punched the kid right in 
the face. This started a fist fight and I was suspended from that bus for the rest of the 
year." Jason also said, "The worst part of the situation is that the bus was a city bus. 
Lincoln Middle School did not have yellow school buses. Lincoln Middle School used 
city buses." 

In conclusion, Lincoln Middle School will always be a memorable, historical 
landmark for the Rock ford area and for the students who attended. It is neat to see how a 
middle school such as Lincoln can affect so many different people, giving them 
memories for life. 1 lopefully Lincoln will stick around for quite some time and 
eventually become the most historical landmark in Rockford, Illinois, today, I incoln 
Middle School is still standing and educating approximate!) 800 students. The "first 


million dollar school" now houses 6 th , 7 th , and 8 th graders in order to stay with the new 
Middle School Concept. 

Abraham Lincoln Junior High School 
under construction by Ilolmquist & 
Peterson in 1925. 

T~Mu. l^xyCcudjS 



/ Symbolic of the spirit that has built the Rockford public school system Into one of the finest educa- 
.tlonal systems In the state, this massive entrance greets the visitor to the Aoraham Lincoln Junior, high 
school on Charles street, a fitting monument not only to the Great Emancipator but to the men who de- 
voted years of their time, to. the development of the local schools. \ • •<•> 


Lincoln Middle School—Home Page 

Page 1 of 1 

Join our celebration! This is our 75th year. 
Special thanks to state senator Dave Syverson for procuring 
$50,000 grant to reopen the library skylight! 


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Works Citicd 

Bennett, Faith. Personal interview. 1 5 Mar. 2002. 

Football Championship. Lincoln student Photo. 1985. p. 24, Lincoln Students. 

Hufford, Jason. Personal experience. 16 Mar. 2002 

Lapidary Club. Lincoln student Photo. 1985. p. 18, Lincoln Students. 

Lincoln Middle School. Yearbook. Abe's Album. Rockford: Lincoln, 1985 

"Overcrowding Creates Need for New Rockford Schools." Rockford Morning Star . 

Rockfordiana Files, Rockford Public Library Reference Section. No Date. 
Palmer, H.H. "Chronological History." Rockford Illinois . 

Feb. 2001: 10pp. 19 Mar. 2002 
"Rockford Gets New Middle School." Rockford Morning Star . Rockfordiana Files, 

Rockford Public Library Reference Section. 1925. 
Roose, Beverly. Personal interview. 1 3 Mar. 2002 
Sjostrom Construction Company. Mar 3, 2002. 
Stalter, Paul. "General Information." Lincoln Middle School. 

Dec. 2001: 2pp. 19 Mar. 2002 
Teachers on Strike. Lincoln student Photo. 1985. p.3, Lincoln Students. 
Turpoff, Glen. They Too Cast Shadows: A Tribute to the Builders of Northern 

Illinois. Rockford, II.: Northern Illinois Building Contractors, Association, 

pp.49-51. 1999. 

Mendelssohn Is Here To Stay 

Annette Cacciatore-Harsevoort 
Spring Semester 2002 

English 101 NDF 
Rock Valley College 

Harsevoort 1 

Annette Harsevoort 
Scott Fisher 
English 101 NDF 
30 April 2002 

Mendelssohn Is Here To Stay 

Several buildings in Rockford have a history of which many people are not aware. 
The stories behind these buildings helped establish what this town is today. One such 
building is the Mendelssohn Club. This club, established in the late 1 800's, continues to 
bring classical enjoyment to the public. 

The Mendelssohn Club, located at 415 North Church Street, will have been there 
for fifty years in May 2002. The building stands at the site where the home of one of the 
founders, the late Ralph Emerson, once stood. The square reddish-brown brick building 
stands majestically, as if to say, "Come I have a story to tell." The building sits across 
from a small, quaint, unnamed park right next door to the Rockford Woman's Club 
Evergreens and shrubs adorn the surroundings. Black sturdy metal railings guide up to 
the heavy black doors of the entrance. Next to the entrance is a commemorative 
inscription dedicated to the late Ralph Emerson: "Ralph Emerson 1 83 1 - 1 9 14. Founder of 
Industries-Creator of Opportunities for others!" A symbol of a lyre and crossed horns, 
made in concrete is attached to the brick with " Mendelssohn Club" abo\e the doors to 
the entrance of the building. Surrounding the vertical windows outside is a decoram c 
wrought iron grillwork. 

This fine institution first started in 1884, when Mrs Chandler Starr, who warned 
to enhance music for women in the community, started the Club. Mrs Stan had a sister 

Harsevoort 2 

she visited in Saint Louis, who was well aware of clubs that were organized in the larger 
cities. When Mrs. Starr came back to Rock ford, she started up such a club for women to 
meet every other week at each other's houses. The afternoons consisted of informal 
gatherings to sew or work on handiwork, while others with a gift of musical talents 
entertained the group. ("Mendelssohn Club Formed in 1884 Becomes Famous in World 
of Music"). Mrs. Starr started the club in her home and presided as president of the club 
for forty-four years ("First Mendelssohn Club held in 1 884"). Even though the club was 
open to all women, members needed money, time, talent, and an invitation from a club 
member in order to participate. These requirements effectively left out the lower classes 
of society (Doe Interview; "Mendelssohn Club formed in 1884"). Although it was a 
women's organization, men were asked to accompany their wives occasionally ("Club 
Organizes Men's Division"). 

At the same time Mrs. Starr started the Mendelssohn Club, Mr. Ralph Emerson 
played an important part in the community as an influential person to the growth of 
Rockford. He was a financial backer for many investments at that time. Mr. Emerson 
helped Mr. John Nelson financially with the making of cotton work socks, bringing in the 
Rockford Central Railroad, Emerson-Talcott Company, and a home designated for music 
enhancement at Rockford College on Seminary Street (Heck 120; Manahan 143). Mr. 
Emerson generously gave charitable contributions to other establishments such as to 
Rockford Hospital as well as the Emerson Institute of Mobile, Alabama, for the 
education of Negroes ("Emerson, Ralph"). 

As the community grew, Mr. Emerson's wealth also increased, as did the si/e of 
his family. He was the father of eight children; two died in infancy, and a son. Ralph 

Harsevoort 3 

Junior, died saving Ralph's Senior's property as a volunteer fireman at the age of twenty- 
three. Mr. Emerson was grief-stricken at the death of his son. His hopes and aspirations 
of Ralph Junior taking over the business were now a faint memory. Ralph Senior still 
had five daughters: Adeline Emerson Thompson, Harriett Emerson Hinchliff, Mary 
Emerson Lathrop, Bell Emerson Keith, and Dora Emerson Wheeler (Emerson, Ralph) 

"In 1936, members of the Mendelssohn Club started the community concert 
series in order to give people a purpose during the depression times" (Mondul Telephone 
Interview). In 1945 Mendelssohn Club added the Blanche Ellis Starr Memorial 
Scholarship Fund to help those with musical talents (Carlson 248, 249). Also in 
September 1950, a men's division was installed to the Club ("Club Organizes a Men's 

When attendance became too much for existing homes and churches, the 
Mendelssohn Club decided that, 

there was a need for a larger more permanent facility. On November 
29,1949, [the daughters of] Ralph Emerson donated the site of the Ralph 
Emerson family home and property and $50,000 towards the building of 
the Mendelssohn Club. Adaline Emerson Thompson, Mary Emerson 
Lathrup member of the club, and Dora Emerson Wheeler gave the gift 
The $50,000 was to be matched by the club and used to erect the building. 
("Homestead Spirit Lives") 
Reyner Eastman, who was the architect, and Max Liebling were hired to build this new 
facility (Mondul Telephone Interview). The doors opened on 4 May L952. The name 

Harsevoort 4 

was derived from the German Composer, Felix Mendelssohn, who was from the romantic 
era"(Mondul Telephone Interview). 

Mendelssohn Club has brought in many outstanding musicians over the years, 
such as Lily Pons, Grace Moore, Isaac Stern, Dave Brubeck, Arthur Rubenstien, and 
Carlos Montoya, to name a few (Mondul Telephone Interview). Besides top name 
performers, the Mendelssohn Club also holds recitals, individual lessons, plays, and 

. Over the years, children as well as adults have had the opportunity to enjoy and 
participate in the Mendelssohn Club As a child, Ms. Annette Harsevoort was interested 
in music, mainly voice, and her parents placed her with Mrs. Mary Stassi to expand her 
knowledge. Mrs. Stassi introduced her to the works of Rogers and Hammerstein, and 
other composers of musicals. Through the years, Mrs. Stassi also had Ms. Harsevoort 
listen to and acquire the appreciation of Mozart, Beethoven, and other classical 
composers. When she was six or seven years old, Ms. Harsevoort was privileged to have 
had the experience of performing in the Emerson Hall and the Reitsch Room. The 
experience was terrifying, overwhelming, and exciting. She can still remember the room 
seemed enormous and dark as she marched onto the stage to greet her audience. She felt 
the anticipation of wanting to get done with her song, but also lonely, like a lost child in 
the dark with a few lights glaring at her. She had to start her song over once, but she was 
relieved when it was over, and she was thankful that the room could hold only about two 
hundred people. 

At the age of twelve, Ms. Harsevoort had another recital This recital was in the 
Reitsch Room. The room seemed a cozy, cheers' room Ms Harsevoort was nervous as 

Harsevoort 5 

she waited her turn to sing her solo. Family and friends were there to encourage her. 
Even with the support, she felt nervous as she stood up to perform. She felt the audience 
was taking inventory of what she wore, how she stood, and if a hair was out of place. 
Even though her love grew for music, Ms. Harsevoort knew a professional career as a 
singer was not in the cards. She was content to make singing a hobby. 

The years flew by, and Ms. Harsevoort found herself entertaining the idea of 
performing with the Mendelssohn Club again. In January 2002, the club sent a letter 
inviting her to perform in March of that year. The original invitation was sent to her 
daughter, Erin, who had previously sung with the chorale. Since her daughter could not 
perform with them at that time, Ms. Harsevoort decided to give it a try. 

What a wonderful experience it was! The chorale, one hundred twenty voices, 
sang with exceptional tone. Ms. Harsevoort said to be able to perform with such a group 
was breathtaking. 

The chorale walked onto the stage of the Coronado Theater and took their places 
behind the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and the four soloists. As the chorale faced 
towards the audience, the lights were beaming brightly on their faces. The chorus looked 
out at the audience, faint silhouettes of heads. Ms. Harsevoort' s heart was beating hard as 
the music started with the introduction. The songs were sung with extreme ease. She 
found it amazing that such a performance could come together in such a short time. 

Every person had different experiences. Two such people from the chorale were 
Ms. Ann Burk and Mrs. Barb Pittman. Ms. Burk compares her experience singing with 
the chorale to a spiritual memory. She said, "1 find it wonderful to be able to perform 
with such a group and not to have to audition to join, 1 truly enjo) singing with the 

Harsevoort 6 

Mendelssohn Chorale. I love music and it reaches to the depths of my soul. I may go to 
practice feeling down, but when I leave my spirit has elevated several levels. 1 feel God 
speaking to me though the words, notes, and the beautiful sounds that I hear" (Burk 
Interview). She felt grateful to have had such a professional experience with her non- 
trained and non-professional voice. 

Mrs. Pittman captures her moment of fame in a slightly different way: "For a 
person with a small untrained voice, to be able to sing with a symphony orchestra is a 
miracle. I am so grateful to have been able to perform Carmina Burana and Verdi '.s 
Requiem with the Mendelssohn Club Chorale. Both were first class events celebrating the 
muse of music in the gorgeous setting of the Coronado Theater" (Pittman Interview). 
Each person had been there for two hours to participate in The Salute To Rogers, but they 
have different memories to take home with them. 

Mr. Frank Holden said, "The concert was well put together and fun to listen to." 
He was impressed as to how professional the singing was after just practicing once a 
week for six weeks. Mr. Holden felt the orchestra was very professional also. Mr. Holden 
was not familiar with the songs, but he enjoyed the music (Holden Interview). On the 
other hand, Ms. Janice Pryhoda was also in the audience, and her thoughts about the 
concert were very different than Mr. Holden's. Ms. Pryhoda was more familiar with the 
selections: "It was great to hear old tunes," she said. "The songs brought back memories 
from my childhood of seeing the musicals, especially the tunes from The King and I. " 
The King and I was the first professional musical Ms. Pryhoda had c\cr seen 
"The song 'Whistle a Happy Tune" had been popular on the radio and brought back fond 
memories for me," she said (Pryhoda Interview). 

Harsevoort 7 

The Mendelssohn Club, established in 1884, an historical site in Rockford, played 
a big part in the enhancement of the music community. Mrs. Chandler Starr was a 
music-orientated person who felt the Rockford community would flourish with organized 
music programs and other art enrichment activities. Though the collaboration between 
Mrs. Starr and Mr. Ralph Emerson and his family, this dream was brought to reality. The 
generosity of the Emerson family financially helped bring it about. This establishment 
brought many top name people to broaden the experience of different genres of music 
and art. The Mendelssohn Club is also highly praised by the participants' and patrons' 
reflections of their involvement. The Mendelssohn Club helps Rockford' s art community 
stand with the best. 

Harsevoort 8 

Works Cited 
Burk, Ann. Written Interview. 22 March 2002. 
Carlson, Leona. "Music Song Everywhere. Role in Country's Life." Nelson, C. Hal, ed. 

Sinnissipi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois. 

Winnebago County, Illinois. P. 248-249. 
"Club Organizes Men's Division Women of Mendelssohn Form New Group." In 

"Mendelssohn Club." Rockfordiana Files. Register Republic. 7 September 
Doe, Jane [Wishes to Remain Anonymous]. Telephone Interview. 2 February 2002. 
Emerson,Epitath. Greenwood Cemetery. Rockford, Illinois. Discovered and Recorded by 

Janice Pryhoda. 
Emerson House pictures. Lundin, Jon W. Rockford: An Illustrated History. Rockford, 

Illinois: Windser Publications, 1989. p.44, 62. 
"Emerson, Ralph" In "Emerson, Ralph." Rockfordiana Files. No Date. 
"First Mendelssohn Club Meeting Held in 1884." In "Mendelssohn club." 

Rockfordiana Files. Morning Star-Register Republic. March 1962. 
Heck, Robert. " Transportation from Canoe to Jet." Nelson, C. Hal, ed. 

Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago ( 'ounty, Illinois. 

Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago C 'ounty, Illinois. 1 20. 
Holden, Frank. Personal Interview. 24 March 2002. 
"Homestead's Spirit Lives." In "Mendelssohn Club." Rockfordiana Files. 

Morning Star. 20 November 1949. 
"It Started A Generation Ago." In "Mendelssohn Club.*' Rockfordiana Files. 

Harsevoort 9 

- Morning, Star. 23 March 1958. 
Mendelssohn Club as it is today. Photographer unknown. Date unknown. 16 March 

2002. <>. 
"Mendelssohn Club, Formed In 1884, Becomes Famous in World of Music." 

In "Mendelssohn Club." Rockfordiana Files. Morning Star. 20 March 1938. 
Monahan, Robert. "Business and Industry. . . Home Town Genius at Work." Nelson, 

C.Hal, ed. Sinnissippi Saga: A History of Rockford and Winnebago County, 
Illinois. Rockford, Illinois: Winnebago County, Illinois. 143. 
Mondul, Kay. Personal Interview. 25 January 2002. 
— . Telephone Interview. 1 February 2002. 
— . Telephone Interview. 22 February 2002. 
— . Telephone Interview. 3 April 2002. 
Music symbol on Mendelssohn Club. Designer unknown. Date unknown. 16 March 

2002+. <>. 
Pittman, Barb. Written Interview. 22 March 2002. 
Pryhoda, Janice. Personal Interview. 24 March 2002. 
Szatmary, Peter. "Mendelssohn Club to feature international talent next season" 

Rockford Register Star. 1 3 May 2002. 

The drawing room of the Ralph Emerson man- 
sion on North Church Street contained marble- 
topped tables, overstuffed chairs, gilt-frame 
paintings (including a half-length of Emerson 
himselj), and life-size statuary. Courtesy, Rock- 
ford Museum (Center 

: Joseph Emerson, who was the rector of 
the Second Congregational Church, built this Ital- 
ianate residence on North Church Street in W55. 
Three years later he sold it to his cousin, Ralph 
Emerson, who enlarged it into a 30-wom man 
sion during the next half century. Courtesy. RmA 
ford Public Library 





(RaCph (Emerson Jr. 

On Emerson family tomb 
Greenwood Cemetery 
Rockford, Illinois 

North Church Street 

Mendelssohn Club as it stands today at 4 1 5 

MFE&STYLE Rockford Register Star \fonda, Md 

2002 3D 

Mendelssohn Club to feature 
international talent next season 


Rockford Register Star 

Acclaimed musicians from 
the former Soviet Union, East 
Germany and Mexico come to 
town as the Mendelssohn Club 
goes global for its 119th season. 

The 2002-2003 program stays 

Numerous performing mem- 
bers get gigs, and a couple of 
homegrown shows get revived. 

A fully staged production of 
the Johann Strauss operetta 
"Die Fledermaus" accomplish- 
es both: northern Illinois talent 
invokes 1890s Viennese splen- 

Here's the lineup: 

■ Mendelssohn Chamber 
Orchestra strikes the first note 
Sept. 14. Mendelssohn favorite 
Stephen Squires conducts. The 
longtime faculty member at 
Northern Illinois University 
leads the school's Wind Ensem- 
ble and Chamber Winds. Cellist 
Michael Beert also is featured. 

■ Mexican violinist Manuel 
Ramos saws from his varied 
repertoire Oct. 6. Credits for the 
St. Louis Symphony first violin- 
ist include soloing with major 
Central American symphonies 
and headlining Carnegie Hall. 

■ "A USO Show Remem- 
bered — Music of World War 
U," Oct. 16-18, serves as one of 
two special events outside the 
season series. Take a "Senti- 
mental Journey" with a "Boogie 
Woogie Bugle Boy" in this 
reprise from the 2000-2001 sea- 

■ On Oct. 31, the eclectic 
Thuringer Salonquintett ranges 
from Viennese classics of the 
mid- 1700s to film scores from 
the early 20th century. Founded 
in 1973 in former East Germany, 
the "salon five" 
concentrates on 
light entertain- 
ment. National 
Public Radio 
booked them on 

■ Award-win- 
ning pianist 
Tatyana Stepano- 
va offers a concert 

Nov. 15. The Russian virtuoso 

\ aft-* " 




* , 

V • 


Photo provided 

Mexican violinist Manuel Ramos 
will perform Oct. 6. 

taught at Kiev State Conserva- 
tory from 1982 to 1991 before 
moving to Chicago. She instructs 
at Northwestern, DePaul and 
Roosevelt Universities. 

■ Mendelssohn Club pre- 
sents the Johann Strauss 1874 
operetta Die Fledermaus ("The 
Bat") on Jan. 18, 2003. Cos- 
tumes, orchestra and chorus will 
round out this fully staged 
romantic comedy at the Coron- 
ado Theatre. 

■ The Jazz Legends of Rock- 
ford III: The Ladies of Jazz 
returns to Mendelssohn Club on 
Jan. 26 in the second special 
event outside the season series. 
Most of the hip cats are 60 or 
older. Veteran women star in this 
event co-sponsored by Char- 
lotte's Web for the Performing 
Arts and the Rockford Jazz Soci- 

■ The American Horn Quar- 
tet arrives Feb. 9. The 1982 
group has trumpeted forth in the 
United States and abroad. The 
American Record Guide recent- 
ly called the award winners "the 
finest brass chamber ensemble 
in the world." 

■ Romantic pianist Valentina 
Lisitsagoes passionate Maivh " 
The Ukrainian first soloed at age 
6 and earned a scholarship at tin- 
Kiev State Conservatory at ". 
The prize winner moved to the 
United States in LSB2. "To put it 
simply." raves the Baltimore 
Sun, "l.isitsa is a gigantic talent 

Photo provided 

Valentina Lisitsa is a Ukrainian 
pianist. She first soloed at age 
6. She will perform March 7. 


Season tickets cost $45. Most 
single tickets cost $15: $5 stu- 
dent. For tickets or information 
about performance venues or oth- 
er questions, call 815-964-9713. 

She has infallible fingers, imag- 
ination and a control of dynam- 
ics — from the softest to the 
loudest sounds — little short of 

■ Mendelssohn performing 
members become Musical Mas- 
ters of March on the 20th. COBV 
posers bom in March carries the 

■ On April 4, Mendelssohn 
performing members declare 
"Destination: Russia." The bill 
spans the famous "Russian five" 
composers: Nikolai Rimsky-Kor- 
sakov. Modest Mussorgsky, 
Alexander Borodin. Mily Ba! 
akirev and Cesar Ctri 
Tchaikovsky and Steppes folk 
music are heard tYoni. bDO. 

■ Stephen Squires CO m aS 
hack April 2' with the 

Mendelssohn Chamber Ensem- 
ble, doing double duty as con- 
ductor and pianist Yiolmtst 
Rachel Handlm. flutist S 
Metlicka and clarinetist drego- 
rj Barrett join him in prominent 
roll's They pla\ JOth-centurv 
lyrical pu\ 

Magic Waters: Mission Accomplished 

Maria C. Gonzalez 

May 14, 2002 

English 101 

Rock Valley College 

Maria Gonzalez 
Eng. 101 
April 30, 2002 

Magic Waters: Mission Accomplished 

Magic Waters began life as an idea. The brainchild of Webbs Norman, Rockford 
Park District Executive Director, it was originally expressed in the 1970s ("Park 
Board..."). The Park District presented a proposal for $1 million to the Illinois 
Department of Conservation, $500,000 to buy the land for an Aquatic Park and $500,000 
for the development of a Sports Core. "They told us 'no way' were we going to get 
both," reported David Weimer, Deputy Director of Park Services ("Dual Park. . ."). The 
proposed property of 17.5 acres would have been donated by Charles Brown had the deal 
gone through ("Dual Park. . ."). 

Eventually, opening day did come on June 23, 1984, but not as part of the 
Rockford Park District. Two architects from Rockford, James Seigfried and John Cook, 
were the original owners. Four years passed and the two men found themselves in the 
middle of being foreclosed on by Amcore Bank N.A. ("New Magic. . ."). 

On January 28, 1988, Park Commissioners Michael Delany, William K. Sjostrom. 
Rolf A. Theinemann, Michael A. White, and Edwin W. Carlson Jr. voted to purchase 
Magic Waters from Amcore Bank N.A.. The original selling price, set by the original 
owners, was $6 million. On the second day of May 1988. the Park District purchased the 
park for the bargain price of $2.95 million on contract from Amcore Bank N.A.. The 
purchase, originally slated to be under a revenue bond funding, later changed to a 
contract purchase. Park Executive Director. Webbs Norman said. "We chose the re\ enuc 

2 Gonzalez 

bond route to give the bank some more flexibility. But now, we've gained some 
flexibility and the bank has lost some" ("Park District Buys. . ."). "It's a worse deal for 
us," said Robert J. Meuleman, Amcore Bank Executive Vice President ('Park District 

Opening day under Rockford Park District management arrived on May 27, 1988. 
Controversy over the admission price of $9.95 created many debates. On April 2, 1988, 
Rockford Park District Commissioners confirmed a new $6 general admission fee. 
Michael Delany said "We've reduced the price by 40 percent, and increased attendance 
by only 22 percent. This does not offset the price reduction. You're on a break-even 
point, which I call a risky endeavor. This means, if we have attendance fall off from bad 
weather, we could get into a situation where we weren't setting aside enough for reserve 
for improvements." ("Park District Commissioners. . ."). 

In rebuttal, Webbs Norman professed confusion by saying, "It was my 
understanding that we were not to use this facility as a revenue producing facility. I 
understood it was a unique opportunity to provide a new and vital service to our citizens. 
Furthermore, Norman said of the $6 admission fee " is probably our best chance to find 
out what the interest really is among our residents." ("Park District Commissioners. . ."). 

Jack Cratty, who handled the marketing for Magic Waters, predicted that the park 
needed a price as low as possible. Information obtained during exit surveys over a three- 
year period proved that 52% of all patrons "left the park dissatisfied with the product for 
the price they were paying," Cratty said ("Park District Commissioners. . ."). On March 
14, 1988, the Rockford Park District hired John Haldc. "1 think the Park District can do it 
more economically because you have such a diversification of staff! lt*s going to be 


3 Gonzalez 

fun," Halde said (Rockford Register Star). Magic Waters has held the attention of 
Rockfordians and tourists for many generations. Under the new manager, John Halde, 
the promise of more fun and profit quickly became a reality. Halde said, "You have to 
give the people something more and keep changing and adding to it so they don't get 
bored. That's the secret. And that's what we'll be trying to do" ("New Magic. . ."J. John 
Halde came to Rockford with 13 years of Park District Management under his belt, five 
years as the director of the Joliet Park District and eight years running the Waukegan 
Park System ("New Magic. . ."). 

During 1988, the year of Magic Waters' grand opening, George Bush was elected 
President of the United States. As many changes occurred throughout the US, Rockford 
too progressed accordingly (The Learning. . .). 

How does one get there? Magic Waters comes into view from a distance. On the 
highway the excitement builds. Fast approaching from all directions, guests are eager to 
get wet. Traveling West on 1-90, exit at the East State Street Exit. Take a right off the 
ramp then turn right and proceed to get into the left hand lane. Once at the intersection of 
Bell School Rd. turn left. Follow Bell School Rd. past Newburg Rd. and Magic Waters is 
on the left. The CherryVale Mall stands on the right, for last minute shopping. Several 
flags wave in the breeze as if greeting happily. Two parking lots are available for 
convenience. Please know that the paved rear parking lot fills up quite fast since the 
employees of Magic Waters also use some of it. Regardless of which end of the Park is 
entered the guest services personnel will be there to greet the guests. 

After purchasing a ticket and walking through the gate, take note of the new 
Splash Blaster on the right. The Splash Blaster is the only land loading \\ ater coaster in 

4 Gonzalez 

the Midwest. This attraction takes one on an adventure not soon forgotten. Dips and 30- 
foot drops are what Splash Blaster has in store. Hold on. It's made to be a little bumpy. 
At the rear of the park near the south entrance look for two exciting tube slides. 
Although the tubes are furnished for each ride, some guests prefer to rent single or double 
tubes for use in the wave pool. The wave pool located smack dab in the middle of the 
park promises to be a thrill. Five-foot waves are ready to toss and throw the unsuspecting 
patron (Magic Waters Brochure). Many more attractions for young and the young-at- 
heart await at Magic Waters. 

As the years pass Magic Waters remains strong and prosperous. Vance Barrie, 
Marketing Coordinator for the Rockford Park District relayed to this writer that "Magic 
Waters has to market the Chicago area. There are just not enough local people coming to 
Magic Waters. We use Mid- West Marketing Organization to attract from the Chicago 
area" (Barrie Interview). This writer knows from personal experience that this type of 
marketing really works. Working at Magic Waters during the 2001 season, as a 
receptionist, the most commonly asked question was "How do I get to Magic Waters 
from Chicago." 

In an attempt to ease the pressure on the food lines, the former pub transformed 
into another concession stand. As further proof of Halde's forward thinking, he was 
quoted as saying, "We need gimmicks, not only promotions. We need to look at all kinds 
of things. Maybe giveaways" ("New Magic. . ."). Advertising by the Park District for 
concessionaires who sell T-shirts and hats inside the Water Park, brought an added 
dimension to the Water Park. In addition, the contracts for video uames and com lockers 

5 Gonzalez 

were also renewed. The Park District ran all other activities, including food concessions 
and raft rentals ("New Magic. . ."). 

The "Big Splash" opening ceremony was set from May 27, 1988. Hiring two live 
bands, Right Mind and Perfect Image, served to set the tone for opening night. That 
night's reduced admission of $3.97 had an added bonus: free admission to be given to 
those who saved their ticket stubs, to the park on either Saturday, Sunday, or Monday of 
that weekend only ("Magic Waters Set. . ."). 

As the first season progressed, construction for a 38-foot inner tube slide was well 
underway. The idea being, after the long climb, inner tubers would then twist and turn 
450 feet into an awaiting catch pool ("Magic Waters' Future. . ."). 

Just to prove how sharply the attendance rose in the once struggling theme park, 
nineteen -year-old Tonya Faherty, of 4685 Bunker Hill Road had the honor of being the 
100,000 customer at Magic Waters Water Park on July 16, 1988. In recognition, she 
and her brother, Mike, 1 1 along with his friend Brett Neslund, were treated to a free day 
at Magic Waters. They all received free lunch, souvenirs and passes for another day at 
the park. "At the same time last summer, the park drew 66,032 people," said Karen 
Weis, Group Sales Attendance Supervisor ("Water. . ."). 

Tim Dimke, Park District's Special Facilities Superintendent, said that Magic 
Waters made more than $650,000 in revenue during the 1 988 operating season. 1 1c also 
said that attendance at the Park District's three other swimming pools was up by nine 
percent from the previous year ("Magic Waters Attendance. . ."). 

As the years progressed. Magic Waters' numbers continued to climb. So much so 
that the Rockford Park District considered an expansion during the fourth operating 

6 Gonzalez 

season under Park District ownership. In 1990, the Park District purchased 16.5 acres of 
land at a cost of $600,000 which was slotted to be used for future expansion and parking 
at Magic Waters. "We needed to purchase the land now for the long term. We're talking 
20 years plus," Dimke said ("More Splash. . ."). 

Based on unannounced safety audits of water rescue skills, first aid and CPR, 
Magic Waters received a National Safety Award in 1 991 ("More Splash. . ."). "The high 
attendance has not created a safety problem at the park. Nine injuries at the park were 
reported through June 30 this year, compared with twenty-six at that time a year ago." 
Said Assistant Manager Diane Barber ("Waves. . ."). 

On June 30, 1991, under remarkably sunny skies, Magic Waters had a record 
crowd of 5,166. During a Wet Wednesday promotion on August 14, 1991, that mark was 
nearly reached again. By combining the attendance of 1 ,771 people during the day along 
with that of what the promotion brought in of 3,394, the turnstiles clicked 5,165 times. 
The music played and many contests were sponsored by WZOK, a local radio station. 
The lure of a reduced admission of $3.97 brought in the crowds missing the previous 
record by one measly person ("Hot. . ."). 

Progressively, Magic Waters has continued to have record crowds. Tom 
Bergman, who handles advertising and promotions, said, "It wasn't as warm and dry this 
year as it was in '88, but this year, the park increased our level of promotions a lot" 
("Hot..."). "Working closely with the Rockford Mass Transit, to make buses to the park 
available to people without transportation" said John Halde ("Magic Waters' Future. . "V 

During the 1991 season, a study to ascertain the feasibility for Park District to 
build attractions for more age groups was done by International Theme Park Sen ices of 

7 Gonzalez 

Cincinnati ("More Splash. . ."). The Park District made cuts to the budget, which did not 
affect Magic Waters, since the facility is not supported by tax dollars. Instead, admission 
fees pay for the facility ("More Splash. . ."). On October 30, 1 991 the Park Board 
adopted a policy to divide Magic Waters revenue for a cash reserve that would be used to 
pay off bank debts, to repair and maintain the theme park, and to offset the District's 
expenses to operate Magic Waters ("New Revenue Policy. . ."). Consequently, during 
1991, a ban on cigarette machines was supported. Tim Dimke, Deputy Director of 
Recreational Services at Magic Waters said, "The park board has not yet decided whether 
to ban smoking at the facility. The issue is being studied and probably would not be 
decided any time soon" ("Cigarette. . ."). 

The introduction of the "Lazy River" promised to be one of the largest water ride 
in the Midwest. In 1992 a rate increase of 95 cents was used to pay for a SI .8 million 
expansion of the theme park. "You're getting more value in another water ride, so more 
money needs to be generated to pay for it," said Tim Dimke, Deputy Director of 
Operations for the Park District. Wendy Perks Fisher, Executive Director of the 
Rockford Area Visitors & Convention Bureau, said, "Magic Waters brings in about S3 
million to the local economy, and the new ride could add $750,000" ("New Ride. . ."). 
The 1,200-foot Lazy River allows 1,000 bathers at a time to ride inner tubes under 
bridges, through water cannons and fog and into a rock canyon of rushing water lasting °- 
minutes ("Banking. . ."). 

The Elite Gold National Aquatic Safety Award from Jeff Ellis and Associates 
Inc., International Aquatic Safety Consultants was given to Magic Waters six years in a 

8 Gonzalez 

row, which is visited unannounced, by Safety Consultants, in order to validate the videos 
of training procedures for all lifeguard staff ("Magic Waters Earns . . ."). 

Throughout the years Magic Waters experienced its share of downfalls, not so 
much financially as with publicity. In 1993 several mishaps occurred, on July 10, a 15- 
year-old boy nearly drowned, John Davis of Chicago. Lifeguards jumped in after 
observing him having difficulties in the wave pool and helped bring him to Cherry Valley 
paramedics who took him to the hospital ("Boy. . ."). In August of the same year 
Rockford Park District employees discovered thefts at Magic Waters ("Employees. . ."). 
1994, brought more perils, 300 gallons of a chemical spilled near a storage facility. A 
spigot broke off the chemical's container during a delivery. The chemical, comparable to 
household bleach did not warrant an evacuation and posed no hazard to patrons or 
employees ("300. . ."). Although Magic Waters has had its share of bumps on the road of 
progress it continues to be run in much the same way. The main objective of fun remains 
of the utmost importance. 

9 Gonzalez 

Works Cited 
"300 Gallons of Chemical Spilled at Magic Waters" Rockford Register Star. 9 

June 1994. 
"Banking on a River of Money" Rockford Register Star. 21 May 1993. 
Barrie/ Vance, Coordinator/Marketing. Interview. 12 April 2002. 
"Boy Nearly Drowns at Magic Waters" Rockford Register Star. 1 July 1993. 
"Cigarette Machine Ban Supported" Rockford Register Star. 4 October 1 991 . 
"Dual Park Aid Ruled Out" Rockford Register Star. 19 October 1980. 
"Employees Lauded" Rockford Register Star. 4 August 1993. 
"Hot Sun Increases Magic Waters' Fun" Rockford Register Star. 26 August 

1991. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
The Learning Network Inc., 9 March 2002. Available 

"Magic Waters Attendance Up 75 Percent" Rockford Register Star. 15 June 

1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Magic Waters Earns National Safety 'Gold' "Rockford Register Star. 26 

November 1993. 
"Magic Waters' Future is Bright" Rockford Focus On Progress. 25 January 

"Magic Waters Set For Big Splash Today" Rockford Register Star. 27 May 

1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"More Splash at Magic Waters?" Rockford Register Star. 24 May 1991. 
"New Magic Waters Manager for More Fun, Profit" Rockford Register Star (•> 

10 Gonzalez 

April 1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"New Revenue Policy Sets Aside Money to Expand Magic Waters" Rockford 

Register Star. 21 October 1991. 
"Park Board Votes To Buy Magic Waters" Rockford Register Star 28 January 

1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Park District Buys Magic Waters On Contract From Bank" Rockford Register 

Star. 2 February 1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Park District Commissioners Set Magic Waters Admission Fee at $6' 'Rockford 

Register Star 2 April 1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Water Park Welcomes Its 100,000 th Customer" Rockford Register Star 16 July 

1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
"Waves of People Enjoy Water Park" Rockford Register Star. 8 July 1 99 1 . 

Rockfordiana Files. Rockford Public Library. 
Whitley, Peggy Page Author 9 March 2002. Available 

[] Kingwood College Library American Cultural 

History 1980-1989 
No Title, Rockford Register Star. 6 April 1988. Rockfordiana Files. Rockford 

Public Library. 


A. To Open Rockford Register Star. 26 May 1 988. 

B. Magic Waters is Located . . . 
[ 1 1 

C. Park Map [ 

D. More Water, Sun & Fun than you ever imagined! 


Magic Waters opening this weekend S* 

"Magic Waters, "one of Ameri- 
ca's finest water-theme parks, will 
open for the season Friday, May 
27 from 4-9 p.m. 

Tickets are only $3.97 on open- 
ing day. Listen to "Right Mind'' 
and "Perfect Image," two live 
bands on opening night. 

Ride the waves at "Breaker 
Beach." It's heated. Try the brand 

new tube slide. Plunge down the 
thrilling three-and five story high 
water slides while the kids play in 
the supervised playground and 
pool. Stretch out on a lawn chair 
and work on that tan, or check 
out the galley for a snack. 

"Magic Waters," now a part of 
Iho Rockford Park District, will 
be open for the rest of the 1988 
season from 10 a.m. un: i ft p.m 

weekdays and from i0 a m until 
7pm weekends. 

General admission is S6 for all 
those features that make Magic 

Waters the best place lor summer 
fun. located at the 1-90 Bypass 20 
interchange east of Rockford. 60 
minutes northwest of O'Harr 
Airport and 90 minuted from 

TO OPEN Rockford's Magic Waters theme park opens for the season on Fridft) . Ma) 17, from 4 to 9 p • 

Tickets for opening day are $3.97. "Right Mind" ;»od 

"Perfect Image," two area bands, will be featured during the evening. 




Magic Waters Waterpark Maps 

2/7/02 2 3* PM 




Group Info Coupons Postcard 

Contact Us 


[Directions] | [Park Map] 

Magic Waters is 


^ 60 minutes NW. of O'hare Airport 

w 30 minutes S. of Janesville, Wl 

™ 60 minutes SW. of Milwaukee, Wl 

w 60 minutes S. of Madison, Wl 

w 45 minutes N. of La Salle, IL 


w 75 minutes E. of Galena, IL the intersection of Interstate 90 & 

Hwy. 20 Rockford, IL. 

Easily accesible by freeway, tollway 

and major highways. 

For more information call 1-800-373- 


For a larger map, click on the image 







Hifhw»y JO 
1 1 

I "> jnd ! BO 

We're easy to get to! 



Click here for detailed driving 
directions using 

hup: wwuiiKiyicwalcrsw parkmap.litnil 



Ubgjc Waters Waterpark Maps 

2/7/02 2 :»» PM 

Pork ftAap 

Daily operating hours: 10am-6pm 

/ • ■ 

North Entrance 

South Entrance 

htlp://wvvw. magic walerswaterpark. com park map. html 


4agic Waters Watorpark Maps 

1 2 3d PM 

MORE WATER, SUN & FUN than you ever imagined! 
Click on attractions for more information. 

' -*• 






NEW! Splashblaster 
"Thrill on the Hill" & 
"Pipeline" Tube Slides 
"Breaker Beach" Wave Pool 
"SPLASHmagic River" 
"SPLASHmagic Island / Castaway 

"Sea Serpent", "Keelhauler" 
& "Bonzai Pipeline" Body Slides 
Little Lagoon 
Beach Volleyball 
Basketball Courts 

9. the "Oasis Surf Shop" 

10. Guest Services / 
Police/ Rentals 

11. "Wave Riders" Gift Shop 

12. Tubes & Lifejackets 

13. Changing Rooms, Rest 
Rooms & Lockers 

14. Locker Key Rental 

15. Outdoor Video Arcade 

16. Main Office & Group Sales 

17. Security Office 

18. Lifeguard Station 

19. "Big Squirt" Filling Stations 

20. First Aid 

©2002 Magic Waters Waterpark 

Food & Drink 

A. Cousins Food Court 

B. Island Cafe (Pizza & 

C. "Snack Shack" 

D. "Shoreside" Grill & 
Taco Bar 

E. "Surf Side" Food Carts 

F. "Dippin' Dots" Ice 

hup www parkmap html 

r«$c j s* 

5 6 9 



*•'/.* <l- > ' '.'. 

3 9696 10057331 

Rock Valley College